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Messages - Code Refugee

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Oh hell yes. You get it. Thanks.

Sometimes on boards there will be a discussion of some PC issue and I'll look into it, find some good studies that address it, and post links to a JSTOR or some other academic reference site. Sometimes it turns out that three years ago some of the same studies were discussed on Breitbart, Stormfront, RT, or any of numerous other sites ranging from mildly conservative to actual white nationalist. There will then be the claim that "You got that study from Stormfront." followed by "Not surprising, Code Refugee is a Neo-nazi." No I didn't, and no I'm not. It's not surprising at all that scientific studies are discussed by various members of the public across the spectrum of political and other opinions. It is very interesting though that places like Stormfront so often have detailed discussions of real science complete with citations from credible peer reviewed journals, whereas sites like CNN and HuffPoo never have such discussions.  :o

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: 78rpm Records Digitized
« on: August 09, 2017, 10:36:40 am »
I thought the discussion about the needle size was very interesting as a technical geek thing.

Turns out different labels printed their grooves to be ideal for different size needles, but they never publicized or documented which ones. So for a given label you want to have the right needle and there's something of a consensus among collectors about which is the right one.

However, there's a caveat. Whatever needle size the owner of the record actually really used, if the vintage record was played a lot, the groove is is going to be most worn out and have the most damage at that point. So a thinner deeper needle or a fatter higher one will get a better result. And of course one has no idea who owned the various records coming in or what needle size they used, and if you could find them and they were still alive they wouldn't remember either.

As a result,  they used a custom turntable able to turn consistently at an extremely precise clarity regardless of load, and with four separate needles attached simultaneously. The needles though were chosen differently for each record! They would always include the "recommended" one for the label, but then they would run the others based on what sounded good and their experience over time.

They then upload all four recordings, which always sound bad, plus four more recordings with EQ applied that simulates the gramophone cone, which sounds better. Then they link to the recording that they subjectively felt sounded best. And it seems in some cases that one is a composite when they had to combine different recordings because there might be a scratch at some depth that one needle picks up but not another.

Discussions - Public / voracious carnivorous australian sea lice
« on: August 07, 2017, 05:01:24 am »
A guy in Australia had his feet bloodied by what doctors think is something called sea lice.

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: A nostalgic look at 1991 computers
« on: August 03, 2017, 04:57:42 pm »
1991 was the first year I started using a NeXT. It was pretty similar to what I have now in OSX since it is actually the same OS...

16MHz but it wasn't any slower than a 3.5GHz quad core now.

FTE, Job and Career Discussion / Re: Rural Sourcing Inc.
« on: August 02, 2017, 04:10:02 pm »
That's actually pretty scary stuff. There have been a number of real life cases where engineers were kidnapped by criminal cartels and forced to work for them.

Here's an article covering 36 incidents of engineers enslaved in Mexico to work for drug traffickers, including one case that occurred across international borders: an engineer minding his own business in Texas found himself snatched and dragged off to no man's land in another country:

If they don't like your work they cut off your head and kill your family. If they do like your work they cut off your head but don't kill your family.

What do do? If traveling outside the western world, never tell anyone you have tech skills. Say you are a telephone magazine salesman or McDonalds manager or something like that. And don't live near the Mexican border, working as an engineer, and publicly known as such. So forget those Austin jobs. Not worth it.

Here's some Indian engineers in Nigeria whose skills were needed by ISIS types:

Whoever organized that terrible sea-code project is still out there somewhere today, lurking. If not running a slave ship, running a slave shop instead. Indentured engineers under his thumb one way or another since it was clearly an obsession of his. Maybe when they don't need their services any more, they simply sell their organs, for some additional profit. To defend against this, we should all consider committing to destroying our livers so our organs are useless to them. Bottom's up!

He was given no notice of this forced update. The Windows 10 update failed because his hardware would not support it.

Dang man, that's some real amateur hour stuff from Microsoft.

Yes you pay the Apple tax but who needs this kind of nonsense.

Well this month I've gone from hating Apple and being Windows 10 curious to not wanting to have anything to do with Windows 10 and also finding Ubuntu really does install fairly painlessly and works fine for general computing stuff. (Once I went into BIOS, disabled the firmware security thing that only allows Windows to install, and configured the Boot Manager thingy to go in order 1. USB stick if present 2. Boot Manager if right key is pressed 3. Ubuntu otherwise, ie the normal default.) So I can do Windows if I need to, but for general stuff where I'm typing on code and documents and emails and internetting and maybe talking in the same room the computer is in I don't want to be running any of this Windows 10 stuff since obviously Enterprise edition is the only one that even has the technical possibility of being secure for privacy.

At work right now we mostly use terminals and old IBM mainframes, but there's also a lot of Windows NT. I noticed though in reading about HIPAA stuff today that if you are running an older unpatched OS to handle patient data, you can get massively fined (typically a million bucks) as that's negligence.

FTE, Job and Career Discussion / Re: Rural Sourcing Inc.
« on: August 02, 2017, 09:49:45 am »
It's kind of funny, I couldn't remember the name of that startup at all. I only read about it once when it came out, which turns out was 2005, 12 years ago. But I remembered in the back of my mind some hare-brained scheme to do this with old cruise ships and I just made up a plausible sounding name for the company when posting above because I didn't feel like trying to google up the real name. And it turns out that I actually did remember the exact name of something from reading one time an article 12 years ago.

Kind of like they asked Ken Jennings how he knew all that stuff to win Jeopardy and he said he didn't know all that stuff, he just hit the buzzer faster than anyone and then said the first thing that popped into his head and it was usually the right answer. There's all this info stored deep in our memory that we don't even know we know.

I looked into the HIPAA thing a little bit.

Microsoft says it's a "myth" that Windows 10 is not HIPAA compliant. All you have to do is buy "Windows 10 Enterprise" edition, lock it down, and disable many of its services.

If a medical facility utilizes voice-to-text technology (e.g. by saying “Hey Cortana”, “Siri” “OK Google”, or “Alexa”) to dictate notes about a patient, that information is automatically exchanged with the cloud. Without a business associate agreement, that medical facility could face a HIPAA violation.

This is phrased so it's misleading. That medical facility could face a HIPAA violation sure, but the fact is they have committed a separate HIPAA violation every single time they talk about patients near a computer with Cortana active (and even if think you disabled it it's often still running). Furthermore, these are clearly cases of willful neglect so the fine is $50,000 per violation with an annual maximum of $1.5 million.

A common misconception in the industry is that using Windows 10 opens an organization to HIPAA violations. The truth is Windows 10 can be easily configured to support HIPAA security and privacy requirements. This whitepaper outlines such configurations...

Based on hearing it from the horse's mouth, it sounds to me like Windows 10 is not HIPAA compliant at all out of the box, and therefore that's not a myth. Further, based on what I understand of it, Windows Home, bundled with most cheap computers, definitely can not be made compliant either since you're not allowed to turn a bunch of the stuff off in Home edition. The site and white paper talk about Windows 10 in a generic sense but when they get specific about changes needed they start talking about this "Windows Enterprise Edition" thing. They carefully avoid claims about Home and Pro editions, whether those can be made compliant at all.

edit: "Cortana management" is only available in the Enterprise Edition. So Home or Pro, and Enterprise default settings, are not acceptable for use in a facility that handles medical data.

Also of interest, only the top of the line Enterprise E5 Edition has "Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection" (ATP).

It appears that Enterprise requires either a negotiated volume licensing contract for an agency, as with US government agencies, or a signed contract and a monthly subscription fee. In other words, if you don't have the personal phone number of the "Microsoft Partner" assigned to handle your account, a guy who lives in your region and makes on site license compliance visits, then you're the product and Microsoft is harvesting your privacy for profit.

There's also an Education edition, which appears to be totally identical to the Enterprise one but has a different pricing structure and is only available to schools. Because of laws regarding the privacy of minors it seems it was also necessary to be able to disable Cortana (and related features such as where everything you type is analyzed and send to Microsoft for use in a "personal dictionary", claimed to be necessary for Cortana to work right) in order to use Windows 10 legally in a school.

Enterprise E3 costs $199 for a Pro license plus $300 for the E3 upgrade = $499 per computer, then (or is it or) $84 per user per year. Or maybe it costs something different. Here's an estimator app that attempts to tell you how much it will cost:

FTE, Job and Career Discussion / Re: Rural Sourcing Inc.
« on: August 01, 2017, 08:17:16 pm »
Yeah, I agree.

Well... at least they have more employees than that Sea Code thing where they were going to have an old rusty 1970s cruise ship anchored 12 miles off California, staffed with desperate 3rd world slaves that couldn't make the H1B cut!

FTE, Job and Career Discussion / Re: Rural Sourcing Inc.
« on: August 01, 2017, 07:22:09 pm »
I remember reading about this venture a few years ago (if it's the same one).

Never met anyone hooked up with them though.

Maybe they are doing stuff but, a few years into this concept, they don't seem to have the traction or market share of the India body shops.

Pity! I like the idea.

Sorry but the spyware aspect of Windows10 makes it a non starter for business dealing with anything that has to do with having either a competitive advantage, confidential business information, or confidential business secrets. Granted many businesses are me-too or otherwise non-unique ventures with no competitive advantage, no contracts with outside entities, and no confidential customer data. For them it is safe to use Windows 10.


1. "Get ad-lite link access for $1." No want that.
2. Auto-play video with full volume audio still plays even with the "it looks like you're using an ad-blocker ... please pay $1" message. Oh hell no.
3. Massive CPU draining/epilepsy inducing animated things that take up half the screen despite ad blocker. Double hell no.

Dude, you convinced me to block at the /etc/hosts level on a corporate wide basis.

Never post a link to a malicious crapware site like that again.

I have a friend who runs a medical office. She told me that Android and Windows 10 are all deemed to be HIPAA NON-compliant as shipped. You can secure them though with the assistance of specialists and various services. So they use Mac only. She says some other medical offices are switching to Linux. She says most offices run an older version of Windows. She says some switch to Windows 10 without realizing what they are getting into.

For the Android problem, turns out that Google has some sort of special secret service for medical offices specifically where they pay BIG bucks to have a custom version of Android that protects medical privacy. Protects it through the amazing advanced technology of disabling spying on users.

I don't know how accurate this info is since it's secondhand, but I might look into it someday.

All Technology & Tech Help / Re: Back up
« on: August 01, 2017, 09:33:44 am »
Apple Mail is not bad at all. It's not perfect though. However, it allows the use of plug-ins that have total access to the app. After upgrading it with a plug-in it was fantastic, allowing annotations, custom labels and color labeling of every message, and AI driven automated filing that placed new mail in folders based on what you typically did with mail of that sort.

Never mind Windows. I gave up on it. I'm on Ubuntu now. Which is not perfect, but it doesn't spy on me constantly. The terrible mail program was unacceptable, and when I tried Outlook it was a total and complete UI disaster (ribbons are absolute shit) and turned out to be a trialware that requires a subscription to upgrade. Screw that.

Disadvantages of Ubuntu so far:
  Latest VLC just kernel panics on it.
  1/2 the battery life of Windows.
  Annoying neckbeards/AfHs on help forums.

  Less spying. (No spying? Not sure.)
  Cool app store where everything is free and no login or account required.
  It's unix. Nuff said. apt-get this, apt-get that. Woo hoo.
  Used by developers not consumers and biz types so it's got lots of development stuff freely available.

Another update, on the burned Mac desktop, I replaced the power supply with a reclaim one off ebay, which allowed me to boot from a restore DVD and find out that the hard drive had done a platter crash. As I had the hard drive partitioned it only wiped out 2 of the partitions. I was able to image the 2 other ones in the couple hours I had before the rest of the drive was wiped out and went down for good, making crackling noises. It appears there is random errors in many files on the recovered images though. But I did get partially intact copies of a couple text files I was working on that were especially important. I've got a system running off an external hard drive right now, but it has weird problems with it, I think some chip has gone wonky, it has bizarre problems with booting and needs to be hand managed. So it seems there's some other damage to the machine as well. This running is just a temp solution. I've not been able to restore things to how they were before. However, the system is faster as I'm running off a new reinstall.

The laptop that got fried by the lightening hit is still dead. Plan to pull the drive on that when I have a chance and see if anything can be recovered.

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