(no subject)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011 04:52 pm
bens_dad: (Default)
System Tip: This article applies to a different operating system than the one you are using. Article content that may not be relevant to you is disabled.

So I can't read the documentation on one system whilst I am sitting in front of another one.
I can see that there may be times when it is useful to get the appropriate version automatically, or the wrong version could be dangerously confusing, but there was no button to say "show it to me anyway".

It isn't as if I was expecting that Microsoft Office activation keys applied to Linux :-).
bens_dad: (Default)
The government is looking http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11657006 at copying a Japanese scheme that a allows volunteer to "bank" the hours they spend helping an elderly or disabled person in their personal Time Account ... These healthcare credits are guaranteed to be available to the volunteers themselves later in life, or to someone else in need, within or outside their family.

This allows the government to borrow without using the financial markets so presumable avoid adding to the National Debt, but at the end of the day these credits will still have to be paid back (or defaulted on) so are still national debt.
bens_dad: (Default)
Is it time that Adobe went back to providing a PDF viewer ? They currently provide Adobe Reader which shows not just PDFs but runs JavaScript too and (unless you have the old but still supported - on some systems - version 8 reader) Flash, so that you can view a PDF file which has bits of Flash in it too. They also provide a separate Flash Player which does what is says on the tin.

According to a recent Adobe security advisory there is security hole in both Adobe Reader and Flash Player, and a wild exploit attacking Adobe Reader but not Flash Player. So they plan to release a fix for Flash Player, which isn't being attacked, by Nov 9, and for Adobe Reader, which is, in the week starting Nov 15. Why not the other way around ?

They also say that Adobe Reader 8 does not have this security hole.

One of the major selling points for Adobe Reader 9 is that it lets you view PDFs with Flash inside. Of all the PDF files I have seen, exactly two contained Flash. One was from Adobe and the other one was a brochure which would have been much better rewritten not to include the Flash.

By my count this is the third security hole in Adobe Reader caused by bugs in the Flash code.
I can see that Adobe want to push Flash as hard as they can (because they make more money from tools for writing Flash than PDFs) but three critical holes in a product caused by a feature that hardly anyone uses (a feature for which they also provide a dedicated tool) which has makes me wonder whether it is time to revert to a PDF-only reader.

Or has everyone else given up on Adobe's PDF viewer and switched to one of the alternatives (Evince, Foxit, Sumatra, GhostView, Google or a couple of dozen others) ?

No Name no longer

Sunday, 22 August 2010 10:50 pm
bens_dad: (Default)
After a fair bit of thought and a year or so of meaning to do it I have properly opened a DreamWidth account
 http://bens-dad.dreamwidth.org/

I am philosophically against adverts, and do not believe that "the people whose journals I wish to read" equals "the people I trust with the restricted bits of my journal" so I am likely to make my home on DW rather than LJ.

(no subject)

Sunday, 22 August 2010 12:54 pm
bens_dad: (Default)
I've finally made the move from Live Journal, mostly because I don't like adverts.

Braudel's Provocation

Friday, 15 May 2009 07:08 am
bens_dad: (Default)
I've just come across a reference to Braudel's Provocation (you need to scroll down a bit). [ The published paper, by P.J.Taylor, is at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0962-6298(99)00060-8 ].

Apparently Braudel's thesis is that capitalism is inherently anti-market and that capitalism is not about markets but monopolies. This may not be news to all of you, but it sure is a relief to me to be able to be anti-capitalist without being anti-market.

American? healthcare spam

Wednesday, 6 May 2009 05:52 am
bens_dad: (Default)
I get spam.
I get spam offering me a degree without all the tedious business of studying.
I get spam offering medical products - mundane as well as "interesting".
So far I can understand.

I get spam offering me lists of names and addresses of medical professionals.
Odd.

This morning I got a spam email from "Medical Billing Degrees"
with the subject "Jumpstart your career in Medical Billing".

Presumably it leads to a website that hacks your computer in some way,
but some spammer thinks that enough people are interested
in a qualification in sending out doctors bills that this is a hook to
get them to open an email.

uncledirect.com if anyone is interested.
bens_dad: (Default)
Do we assume that the national management (government, utilities, transport, ...) have calculated that the lost business from a day or two of inconvenient weather is less than the cost of having the facilities and trained staff on standby just in case they should be needed ?

Given the current forecast is snow all week they may have lost the gamble this year, but I'm not sure that is an argument against making it, *if* you think that is the function to optimize.

I don't consider the fact that Sweden and other places can cope with much more snow to be a valid argument -
the difference between 10 and 12, or even 10 and 20 inches of snow is much less than that between 0 and 2, and the phase transition is always going to be more complex and expensive than a shift within a stable state.

Closing schools is probably not a big deal: the kids will learn more by being out in the snow than by sitting in a classroom wishing they were out, the only question is whether they should be out with their parents or their teachers ?
bens_dad: (Default)
Hidden within the innocuous-sounding "Coroners and Justice Bill" is a proposal which would reverse the intent of the Data Protection Act, requiring holders of personal data to give it to government officials.
Currently the details are on the front page of http://www.no2id.net/

If this bill, which received its first reading last week, goes through the Database State will be a reality.

If I were a coroner I would be very offended that so much of our privacy was being removed in my name.
bens_dad: (Default)
The saying Religion is to mysticism what popularization is to science (attributed to Henri Bergson) in the signature appears in the signature of an email I've just received.

Having thought about it, this is plausibly the right way around, but it seriously challenges my view of at least one of the four.

Meme

Saturday, 27 December 2008 06:38 am
bens_dad: (Default)
List the towns or cities where you spent at least a night away from home during 2008.
Mark with a star if you had multiple non-consecutive stays.

*Kendal
St Martin Belleville
Las Arenas, Picos de Europa
Santa Susanna, Costa Maresme
*Southam
bens_dad: (Default)
I guess most people reading are more swayed by intellectual arguments but http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=v1JqlvnZANA is no2id's latest emotional argument against Big Brother, the database state and ID cards.

I'm not sure it entirely works for me.

(no subject)

Monday, 10 November 2008 08:27 am
bens_dad: (Default)
I'm trying to set up another online account:

We'll ask you your security question should you forget your password. So choose an answer that you'll remember but isn't easily guessable by others. Available questions are "Who/what is your favourite ... actor, popstar, sportsman, author, TV show, CD, movie and book".

Surely any favourite that I will actually remember is someone/something that I will share with others, who will thus find it comparatively easy to guess ?

(no subject)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008 06:00 am
bens_dad: (Default)
The alarm-clock/radio roused me with the beginning of John McCain's speech congratulating Barack Obama. I was impressed at the time, and more so as I listened to it again, how gracious he was in defeat. It gave me hope that the right of America may allow Obama to run his country.
bens_dad: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] miss_t_ide bought a Breville Silver Filter JK120 kettle. Our old one dribbled a lot but this one pours very nicely.

However, when standing on the base but switched off the kettle is illuminated by a blue light. The manual says:
the illumination of this kettle is achieved by using LED's. The amount of energy used for this is very small, a fraction of what is used by a light bulb.
Maybe, but when I want to illuminate not only the kitchen and the hall, but the wall halfway up the stairs as well
I don't immediately think "Ah, I'll turn the kettle on".

I really want to take this environmentally unfriendly kettle/lamp back but I don't think [livejournal.com profile] miss_t_ide would be happy without a kettle that only pours water into the cup.

Why Kyoto failed

Sunday, 26 October 2008 08:07 am
bens_dad: (Default)
While looking for confirmation that the UK government falsified results of Salters' Duck experiments (http://rblanchard.users.btopenworld.com/technologies.htm is the bet I;ve found so far) I came across
http://www.martininstitute.ox.ac.uk/NR/rdonlyres/06C527B7-D0DA-4D57-A38C-EDD6C5863112/0/TheWrongTrousers.pdf which is a long critique of Kyoto and why it failed in its own terms. It takes a long time to get going but there are some interesting bits in it.
bens_dad: (Default)
The news on Radio 2 this morning reminded us that the government doesn't want NHS cancer patients to be able to buy drugs that the government wont pay for (because this would give a better service to people who can pay than those who can't, IIRC).

Are they going to demand that children who get extra coaching or lessons in subjects not taught at school will have to leave state schools ?
bens_dad: (Default)
Voting system names aren't particular helpful, with "first-past-the-post", which is "one person, one vote", being called "plurality voting" (I think recognizing the historical novelty of many people having a say in the decision). Even so the idea of Approval Voting is so obviously good that I'd have remembered the idea if not the name. I've looked at various forms of Single Transferable Vote and New Scientist had a feature on alternative voting systems in April, so why did I have to read the house magazine of one of the groups who share our building to hear about Approval Voting ?

What do I as a voter want from an election ? Once I recognize that I can't pick my representative but have to allow the other constituents a say as well and I've seen that first-past-the post doesn't work, what I want to tell the returning officer is which of the candidates are acceptable to me and which are not.

STV systems ask me to put the candidates in order of preference and there are related schemes that allow me to say whether A is six as good as B or merely twice as good as A, but Approval Voting asks me one thing about each candidate, the one thing that really matters: are they good enough ?

Some of my friends know lots about voting systems. Is there some horrible flaw, a case where AV gives a really bad result ?

Of course AV allows us to mark more than one box, so we would have to give up "one person, one vote" - perhaps to become "one person, one ballot paper" ?
bens_dad: (Default)
We want to buy a house and we want to borrow some, but not all, of the money.
The bank offering to give us a mortgage want proof that we have the remainder.
Some of it is in an internet bank account but (for security ?) the online statements don't include either of our names, nor the full bank account number :-(

Fortunately I've been able to go into the branch and get them to print out a statement that does have my name, account number and balance which they then stamped and initialled :-)

I did have a plan B - use PhotoShop (or even an html editor) to add my name and the starred part of the account number, but that would be silly.

We have also had to prove identity and address to solicitors, mortgage brokers and the like recently. A utility bill is a good way of proving address, but as they seem to be pushing towards online accounts they get harder to find too, so we ended up posting valuable documents (passport and driving licence IIRC) - which the postperson returned by dropping through our letterbox even though it was returned recorded delivery :-(
bens_dad: (Default)
According to [personal profile] dadi   The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed."

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading,
4b) and put asterisks beside things you were forced to read at school and hated.
5) Reprint this list in your own LJ

My list )
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