Showing posts with label computers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label computers. Show all posts

Friday, July 6, 2018


The worst thing you can do for a software company like ACDSee is buy their software. They don't know what to do with the money. They use it to churn out meaningless, unwanted spam emails, which they send to me from the point of purchase to Doomsday, making me regret ever coming into contact with ACDSee. In addition to the spam, ACDSee sees fit to advertise on the user's desktop, as well, turning the home computer into a billboard for their products. Nice way to screw the customer, eh?

You can forget about ACDSee making meaningful improvements to their product, too. The most they will ever do is add a special effect or make a 64-bit version, ten years after 64-bit become the standard. Buying ACDSee entitles the customer to zero updates. Instead, each year, you have to cough up more money, if you ever want the product to be updated again. More money, with no end in sight, malware loaded on to your desktop, and getting spammed to death is the ACDSee way.

One has to wonder how the spammers at ACDSee would feel if their email accounts were spammed on a daily basis.

No wonder ACDSee wants to screw with Americans--they're Canadian!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Never Using Piriform's CCleaner Again

Ccleaner installed Avast Anti-Virus on a user's machine during a fresh install, even though I opted out. That resulted in a scenario where the user had two active anti-virus programs. What ensued was a 30 minute ordeal of trying to get Avast off the machine. A reboot was required, naturally. I will never use Ccleaner again and plan to blacklist it to prevent anyone from using it at all, under any circumstances. Ccleaner is malware. At one time last year, Ccleaner actually had a virus payload inserted into its code, by accident, or so Piriform claimed at the time. I rather think that Piriform has grown jealous of the wealth of other software companies and is doing anything at all to increase revenue, whether ethical (or legal) or not. The equation is simple. Ccleaner = Virus.

A good substitute for CCleaner is Bleachbit.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Checked Out Wal-Mart's Web Site...

...And, it looks like old WallyMart hasn't learned zip in ten years about how to design the web site. The whole thing looks like it is designed to sell paper cups and toilet paper, nothing more than that. It may be that they are just not intelligent enough to understand the digital age. Too many fossils up at the top of that company.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


AMD may be a cpu worth considering for Windows gamers, but no one else. AMD doesn't care about Linux. Never has, never will. So for me, it's Intel all the way. And the same goes for the hundreds of folks I buy PC's for. I don't even look at or consider AMD products, ever, under any circumstances, and for all of us, INTEL is worth a sizable premium. In fact, there is only INTEL, and they can charge whatever they want.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Lenovo doesn't want to make money. Lenovo is in the business of losing money. I've seldom seen a company so determined to avoid acquiring new customers. The salesmen don't seem very interested in making sales. You're lucky if you can get one to call you back. Of course, their computers aren't any better than anyone else's, either. The Lenovo desktop has zero room for upgrades. Want to add another hard drive? Forget it. Open up the Lenovo desktop, and you are in Nightmare Alley. There's no space for anything, and working in it is a nightmare. But the worst part about Lenovo is that it is based in China, so their hardware probably comes with built-in hacks to let the Chinese spies in.

And, word to the wise: the defect rate of Lenovo products is high, while their technical support is extremely poor. Their tech support staff speak poor English, the kind of English that a third-grader in China learning English as a second language might use, and frequently Lenovo staff will return a product without performing any repairs at all. The amount of time Lenovo requires to perform a simple repair is 2-3 months; a complex repair is completely impossible. Those who invest in Lenovo as a company or as a customer have a desire to lose money and lose time. They would be better off playing video games, because at least they would have fun that way.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Lawsuits are Good for Apple

I'm glad Crapple is finally facing the music over their Iphone batteries. The problem with Iphones is simple. How do you replace the battery? Yeah, it is complicated, and that's Crapple's fault, for putting users in a pickle. Either pay to replace the user's battery every 3 years, for eternity, or else design the Iphone to be easily serviced by the user, as all devices used to be, just ten years ago. This planned obsolescence bit is tricky and tiresome.

Apple is a tax dodger anyway for hiding all their profits overseas and refusing to pay much of anything in taxes to anybody, even poor old Ireland. They have no goodwill as far as I am concerned. Microsoft is a better corporate citizen than Apple, any day of the week, and that's saying something.

While I'm on Crapple's case, why did they move all the jobs to China? They should stop calling themselves American. List Apple in the Chinese stock exchange and just call themselves a Chinese company. They don't need U.S. protection. Their executive types need to move over to Beijing and learn all about the tender mercies of Chinese law and attend all those Communist Party meetings.

I don't give a hoot about new Iphone models, because they have zero features that interest me. There is one feature that would interest me: a replaceable battery. Will Apple ever design such a phone? No, because they're greedy, irresponsible idiots.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Not Even Looking at AMD's Ryzen

I always filter chips for Intel when I shop, because I know AMD chips don't play well with Linux.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Windows 10: An Interesting Toy

Windows 10 is an interesting toy for children, but it is inappropriate for any sort of business enterprise. When a professional needs to work, Windows seizes that time to perform unrequested updates. Microsoft believes it owns the computer, rather than the customer. I look forward to the day when our businesses and governments are free of Microsoft malware, and a new operating system is in place, based upon the principle that people need to get their work done without delay and without distractions.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Firefox Goes AntiSec

I used to be a Mozilla evangelist, preaching Firefox to the masses, but nowadays Firefox has aligned its star with that of Yahoo, the worst search engine on the planet, which serves up malware and spam to the unsuspecting. Just do a search for Dell drivers and see what comes up. The way to get a computer user infected is to set his default search engine to Yahoo. I can no longer in good conscience recommend Firefox for security reasons. What other reason would there be? And as for me installing Firefox on client systems, why should I spend extra time reconfiguring Firefox to do what it should do by default in the first place--namely, search Google, not Yahoo. Alas, Firefox has lost its way, squandering precious dev time on pointless projects reminiscent of Don Quixote, like Pockets. Wiser would have been to incorporate Thunderbird into Firefox and build real functionality into its browser that would beat its competitors. But perhaps that required too much creativity out of poor little Mozilla. Well then, welcome to the dustheap of browsers. Care to make the acquaintance of Netscape Navigator?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Adobe is FUBAR

I am familiar with three Adobe products: the abominible security hole known as the Flash player, Adobe Acrobat-out-of-Hell, and Photosh**.

Acrobat won't print .pdf's half the time and does not even have the common courtesy of giving the user an error message when it fails to print an ordinary, humdrum .pdf to an ordinary, humdrum printer. You know, with a PDF editor, printing is kind of a big deal. I have been on the phone with Adobe tech support for hours. They do not know what time of day it is. It is time for Adobe to stop publishing software and go bankrupt. That is what time of day it is.

My, how I wish market forces were even half as efficient as Republicans think they are! That would be a good thing.

As for Photosh**, it won't work on half the graphics cards out there, and won't tell the user why, either. Just very user-unfriendly, slow and sluggish, and rather irresponsible of Adobe to stop supporting graphics cards that are less than fifteen years old. Come on, not everybody has the cash to buy a new system every five years. That would include businesses and government as well. Desktops are built to last a long time and should last a long time. That is one of the many things desktops are good at.

I am not sure what sort of lame-brain computer programmers Adobe has working for it. I think they are using spaghetti code a mile-long coded by morons twenty or thirty years ago and patched a little bit year by year by an ever-changing base of employees until they don't know what does what or how. I think if you asked every Adobe developer in existence to fix the problem with printing in Acrobat, they could not do it, even given a year, because they don't know how to fix it, or fixing it will break fifty other things, because the dirty secret in Adobe is that their code is FUBAR. The only reason printing ever works at all is probably because of accidental bugs. I have seen spaghetti code, worked with it, reformed it (or tried to), and I know what it is like. That's what's wrong with Adobe. A mile of legacy spaghetti code, with no veterans around to figure it out.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Today, just for fun and to resolve some outstanding technical problems, I installed a new solid state drive in my computer and tried installing Windows 10 fresh from a DVD. Windows 10 installed OK, but pitched a fit over the activation, which scratched a sore spot with me. There is a tawdry story involved here, and I might as well 'fess up.

You see, I did not purchase Windows 10 through proper channels. Ever the bargain-hunter, I snagged a product key for Windows 10 Professional off an Ebay seller, who later was banned from Ebay, probably for pushing shady licenses, because all she ever sold was Windows 10 licenses.

Nevertheless, I had paid her $80 for Win10 Pro, and it seemed quasi-legit. I had researched and found it to be a volume licensing for some kind of online academic institution. Microsoft indeed had gotten paid, although not quite as much as they would have preferred, no doubt. No way I was coughing up another $140 for a brand new license. Just no way.

I called Microsoft, and the first Indian I spoke with was a guy with a really smooth, mellow voice. He had me recite my product ID, a 30-digit number. I just loved listening to his voice, it was so clear and smooth. He could easily have been a jazz singer. I didn't really expect that from Indian tech support. In the end, however, he handed me bad news. I had to contact my seller and get the product key, which is different from the product ID. No other way forward, according to him.

I didn't tell him this, but the seller is out of the picture completely. She is gone, kaput, does not answer emails, so forget about that. But I know a thing or two. When I bought Windows 10 originally, the seller did send me a product key, or otherwise I never would have had a licensed Windows 10 in the first place. I printed it out back then and filed it. I found my hardcopy and, armed with that information, called Microsoft again, because Windows for some reason was not accepting that product key anymore.

This time I got an Indian dame, whose name remains Anonymous, because when she connected to my computer, the window indicated it was Piyush. But googling that name suggests that it is a masculine name, not a feminine one. I do not see any male Piyushes in Facebook. I think she was using the previous tech's, or her boyfriend's, log-in details in order to preserve the sanctity of her true identity. In truth, it is not a good idea for young female voices to be attached to actual names that can be researched and tracked down to a location. I would have done the same thing in her position and indeed I do it. The fact of the matter is, although one desires to be appreciated and admired on the Internet before an audience of one's peers, one is well-advised to treat one's identity the same as one's chastity. Many people do not seem to understand that. But Piyush, as I call her, understood.

She fixed everything for me. Windows 10 Pro was activated on my new solid state drive, and she was quick about it and rather nice, too. As for me, I was sunshine and butter on popcorn. I had all my ducks in a row. She did not have to do any extra work or waste any time explaining anything to me. I was always two steps ahead of her. I am not surprised things worked out so well for me in the end. If it is at all possible to get a positive result out of technical support, I can do it, because I am technical support, and I like people and get along quite well with them, whatever their age or gender or any other factor that other people seem to think is important. I am neutral and results-focused and results-oriented, but I also like to have fun and joke around, within the parameters of propriety. I had quite a bit of banter with Piyush.

Here is the strange thing that set me blogging with a title of the false name she used.

She liked me. I was the nicest person she spoke to all day or will speak to all week. I walked around in her mind a bit. There were echoes of unpleasant exchanges with abusive callers upset at Microsoft, and I hated that. People don't always understand how difficult computers can be. They don't know how much patience and work is required to get them to function at all. Most people in support have been abused by the ignorant, the impatient, the negligent and the frankly stupid. I am honored and grateful to the Goddess that I am not like that.

After we disconnected, I walked around the house, exuberant that I had fixed the problem and feeling a lingering pleasure from the strangely potent connection with this Piyush lady from India. Five minutes later, there was a phone call. The caller ID indicated a long distance number, but I just knew it was her.

I picked up, and there she was. She had dialed me by mistake, intending to reach her next customer. But really, are there mistakes? Is it so difficult to dial the correct number in a call center? Her subconscious preferred to talk to me again rather than play the fool's lottery on the next caller. I would have loved to talk with her for hours and learn all about her interesting life in India, but that is not such a good idea. I redirected her back to her work with firm pleasantries. I mark her existence only in this blog. Perhaps in another Universe, another reality, who knows? She was a lovely lady. She deserves to be loved. I have said it. The world must do it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Master's Degree in Marketing

This is the funniest IT story I've read in ages.

You know, the best way to drum up business is to design a good product and provide good service. Little tricks don't get you far.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Nocturnal Perfection Achieved by Linux Mint 18

What I want in an operating system is simple. I want to look at a screen that is easy on the eyes. I spend a lot of time on the computer, and I don't need to be staring into a light bulb. I do not like headaches and I do not appreciate eyestrain. After twenty years, Windows does not understand this. Windows insists upon burning out the eyeballs of its users. Ubuntu is no better. Only Linux Mint understands, as of version 18.

I'm happy with Linux Mint 18, because it has included a dark theme that just works all the time. Fastest and easiest route to nocturnal perfection that I have ever experienced in any operating system. I liked it so much, I donated to the project. In my opinion, Mint-Y-Dark is reason enough to convert to Linux Mint 18. Meanwhile, I don't know what Windows and Ubuntu are doing, but they are not doing anything for me.

Mr. Developer, please. Think, for a moment, about the human body. In particular, have pity on the human eyeball. It is not designed to stare into the Sun all day long. Try to design your product so that it works in harmony with the user and is not harmful to the user.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dumbed Down OSes

Modern operating systems like Windows 10 and all smart phones have been dumbed down to the point where they work great if you're dumb and terrible if you're not.

My Chromebook won't let me do anything without installing and more likely buying some app from the app store. There is no GUI even for something as mundane as renaming a file. I regard ChromeOS as crippleware, with little more functionality than a browser. Forget about any utilities such as FileZilla that other desktops run. The Chromebook is basically a browser, period. Google has gone to great lengths to cripple their product and "protect the user from himself."

Windows 10 likes to hide things from the user. When I tried to shutdown Windows 10 today, it told me to Please wait and Do Not Turn Off the Computer. Doubtless it was uploading all the spyware-data it stole from me to Microsoft's marketing department, so that Microsoft can sell the data to advertising firms. But there wasn't enough bandwidth available, so the process got stuck and was still going on an hour later. I defied Microsoft and restarted the computer anyway, because I wanted to run Linux, which I like, as opposed to Windows 10, which I distrust and hate. All Windows 10 is, is Spam, Advertising, and Malware all rolled into one big, nasty ball and prettied up to look like a smartphone. However, we have to go with Windows 10, because it will continue to be supported in the future, whereas Windows 7 will not. My plan is to use Windows 10 about 1% of the time, and Linux 99% of the time, until such time that I can dispense with Windows altogether by replacing the few apps that only work on Windows.

The only reason I continue using Windows is ACDSee and Call Clerk. Once those applications support Linux, I'm done with Windows forever. Krita is starting to get pretty good as an image editor, and can do a lot of important things that ACDSee never got around to doing, so perhaps I will not buy any future versions of ACDSee. As for Call Clerk, I might have to discontinue my land line service in order to avoid needing to use it. I doubt Call Clerk will ever be ported to Linux, because landlines are on the wane, and with it the market for Call Clerk.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No Duh

High-falutin business executives are as stupid as wood when it comes to computers. Who would have thought?

I think the easiest thing in the world for a hacker to do is target a CEO, because those people are as stupid as the day is long in my experience. They know nothing, but know certain important people, hence their job and their salary. Never ask a CEO to think about anything, because they don't think. They hire people to do all their thinking for them and tell them what to think. So in order to extract sensitive financial and technological information from a corporation, all one has to do is deceive a damned fool, the top leader of that corporation, and that's pretty easy to do.

"Oh, I'm in at a fancy hotel owned by god knows who. It must be okay to use the Internet here and chat all night long about secrets that are worth millions of dollars. It must be okay... because I'm frankly too lazy and too stupid to think about why it might not be okay."

Really I think most CEOs are not worth even a tenth portion of their salary. I have yet to see any that are really admirable. Fancy suit, good at public speaking, bold and confident, good with people's names--that's about as far as it goes. Okay, you remembered my name. Maybe I forgot yours. Big goddamn deal. Could you reason your way out of a paper bag? The only thing most CEOs know is about sending jobs over to China to save on labor costs, stabbing Uncle Sam in the back. For that, they get millions or billions in bonuses. Whup-de-do, you're a genius. That's what the CEO knows, along with strike-breaking and slashing salaries and benefits.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Purchasing Test for Computer Hardware

What do I look at when I need to purchase computer hardware?

The key word here is "need." Do I really need the damn thing after all? I hate spending money. Everyone should. The world would be a financially sounder place if the rest of the human race would stop and think about their purchases before making them. If the benefit to me outweighs, in my view, the cost, then I proceed to the next question. If I can afford to make a discretionary purchase even after saving for retirement and medical expenses and the proverbial rainy day--then and only then I'll buy. I do not believe in using credit for anything other than a home mortgage, even for the sake of the stupid one per cent rewards that credit card companies offer. No. Cash money up front, every time. No exceptions. Go by that rule, and you will live a calmer life. Credit card companies are parasites feeding upon the mentally feeble.

The first thing I look at with computer hardware is what other people are saying about it. Reputation matters. If a lot of people are having problems with a product, then there is probably something wrong with it. The other thing I look at is Linux compatibility. If a piece of hardware is not Linux-compatible, then it is a piece of garbage in my view. When computer systems reach retirement age, they evolve from Windows systems to Linux systems. I don't want any nasty surprise waiting for me ten years from now with a scanner, printer, video card or external enclosure for a hard drive. The #1 thing I look at is does it work in Linux. If not, pass.

Generally I buy the absolute minimum that I need and only purchase hardware that has been around for a while. Newly introduced hardware has two problems. First, it is more expensive. Second, it is untested and may have as yet unidentified problems. I know exactly how much testing many manufacturers do. The answer is not enough. The rush to market is insane, and quality controls just don't matter to the manager-types looking to boost sales figures. Again, I want to see a lot of positive reviews from respectable sources about a product, and then I might buy it. If other people are having a problem with the product, and the problem is not related to their ignorance, then I don't want that product.

In summary:

-I can afford it
-I really need it
-Good reputation of the manufacturer and the specific product
-Linux-compatible AND moreover, works very well with Linux (positive reviews help here)
-Been out for a while, not brand new
-Good price

Saturday, October 18, 2014

How Much to Spend for an HTPC

An HTPC really requires very little in computer hardware, I've discovered. A low-end Intel Haswell Celeron cpu (~$50), with its built-in Intel HD graphics, paired with 2 gigs of RAM is ample to render 1080p using any free Linux distro, though I'm partial to XFCE desktops such as Linux Mint Xfce. Anything more than 2 gigs is overkill, pure and simple. I stripped my HTPCs of their 4 gig sticks and reduced them to 2 gigs and noticed absolutely no difference in performance.

Linux really shines as an HTPC, and I don't understand why anyone would want to use Windows for that purpose. There's no reason at all. Why pay the license fee? Why wait twice as long for startup? Why bother installing an anti-virus? Also, if you go the Windows route, you certainly will want 4 gigs as opposed to 2 gigs. Windows is just more expensive all the way around, and there really is no need for it when the computer is intended to be an HTPC.

I steer clear of any AMD chips nowadays for two big reasons. One, AMD is wasteful when it comes to energy efficiency. Their low-energy offerings are pathetic and simply aren't worth considering against an Intel Celeron. Two, AMD's ATI graphics are horrible on Linux. I've run into nothing but problems trying to get their Catalyst driver working in Linux, to the point where I say "Never again." I won't even buy AMD chips for a Windows system, and why? Because eventually that Windows computer may one day be converted to Linux, and I don't ever want to have to deal with installing Catalyst in Linux. I don't think Catalyst runs that great in Windows either. The only video graphics I am willing to consider are Intel and Nvidia.

An SSD isn't really required for an HTPC in any way, shape or form, although I rather like using SSD for the operating system, simply because it allows fast booting. I consider an SSD a luxury.

Everyone should have an HTPC, and nowadays cost is not a barrier. Used computer components are amazingly cheap these days. There's only one component I will never buy used, and that's a hard drive. I have learned from hard experience to always buy new with a lengthy warranty. Refurbished or used hard drives just seem to fail at an extremely high rate in my experience, and I avoid them now. I think the main reason anyone would sell a hard drive is that the seller has doubts about its longevity. Well, the seller knows best. If he's selling his drive, it must be on death's door. Word to the wise.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Russia is HQ of Cyberwar

Most IP addresses I add to my blacklist nowadays originate from Putrid's tyranny, formerly known as Russia. Should anyone be surprised? That old rotten egg, Putrid, has instructed his computer hackers to attack web sites everywhere, big and small, no matter whether they are relevant or irrelevant, in an attempt to spread his evil tentacles all over the Internet and make everyone smell his foul stench.

In reaction to any attack originating from that blighted land, I ban the entire IP range, encompassing millions of addresses. With Putridity, "guilty until proven innocent beyond all reasonable doubt" is the rule of the day. Nothing good will ever come out of Putridity as long as the rotten egg holds sway.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

No More Passwords

In the not-so-distant future, people will wear rings containing a universal password--in a matter of speaking--for all their personal online services and data. This ring will transmit via direct physical contact to a computer or other device that has been granted access to that individual ring. Devices that have not been granted access will not be able to access the ring. The ring will allow browsing sites without logging in and with near-perfect security. Mobile phones and computers owned by the user will be inoperable and in lockdown mode, broadcasting their GPS location to their owner, should anyone other than the owner attempt to access them.

I say the ring contains only a password "in a matter of speaking," because passwords are insecure by their very nature, subject to brute-force attacks. People of the future will look at passwords as a primitive stepping stone to the next generation, which is algorithm-based. An algorithm encoded within a ring can decrypt any encrypted data owned by the user and log in to any web site instantly. This method of encryption cannot be defeated, because the encrypted data is not sequential and is not key-based, but deciphered using a complicated matrix-based algorithm which varies for each individual and which also varies depending upon the time of day and time of year, body temperature, and perhaps some other environmental factors as yet to be determined. To decode such data is impossible, regardless of available resources. . .

The ring functions as a unique key that can be stolen or copied, perhaps, but needs physical possession. Thus, hackers without access to the ring are without any luck at all. Theft will consist of old-fashioned robbery or burglary to obtain the ring. But a ring is relatively easy to secure, certainly easier than many alternatives such as passwords. If one's person is safe, then one's data is safe. This is both a natural and very simple method of safeguarding data, requiring little more vigilance than people ordinarily exercise in safeguarding precious gold and platinum rings. However, there will have to be a way for law enforcement to inactivate stolen rings following a complaint of theft and DNA confirmation that the real owner is who he says he is.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Security 101


1. Any competent programmer can devise a nonsequential, noisy encryption scheme that unlocks by algorithm, not key, and thus cannot be defeated by any method.

2. Such a run-of-the-mill coder can also devise a virus that cannot be detected by any method.

3. No complicated software can be certified virus, malware, and trojan-free with 100% certainty, even if the source code is exhaustively reviewed by a national security agency over a period of a hundred years and with a billion-dollar budget. (If you are in any doubt about this, review #1 & #2.)

4. No complicated software can be certified to be free of all present and future security vulnerabilities, intentional or unintentional.

5. People who download programs or operating systems from Pirate Bay are either kidding themselves or don't care because they have taken precautions such as running the software in a sandbox, etc.

6. People who think it is fine and dandy to install software from China, etc. are in the same boat as the #5 group.

The bottom line is this--and everyone using the Internet today needs to know this not now, but yesterday--computer programs are just as complicated, diverse, and potentially harmful and untrustworthy as human beings. Therefore, the same rules apply. Consider the source, reputation, and available references. Take precautions and reduce risk. And continue observing.
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions