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kryo's Articles In Personal Computing
October 2, 2011 by kryo
Having just recently transitioned to Visual Studio 2010 (finally) at my day job, I found myself in a bit of a predicament. Previously we'd been using VS2005, for which there was a little extension called MetalScroll (based on another named RockScroll); this extension changed the scrollbar into an actual thumbnail of the code in the editor. For very large and complex files, this makes navigation considerably easier and quicker because you can learn the code's physical layout and identi...
August 27, 2008 by kryo

Does it really take a rocket scientist to install an anti-virus app and keep it up to date? If the astronauts aboard the International Space Station are any indication, even that's not enough!

Apparently, earlier this month NASA detected that a worm had infected some computers that were taken up into orbit in July. Smart as astronauts have to be, it seems none of them thought to even install an AV program on their laptops.

August 18, 2008 by kryo

gavel128Having returned from a much needed vacation last week (my first since starting to work for Stardock two years ago), it's time for me to get back on the old soapbox and talk about the latest news on software and law!

It seems that while I was away last week, a ninth circuit court of appeals overturned a previous ruling in the matter of open-source developer Robert Jacobsen versus a company who'd taken parts of his code, stripped all attribution to him, and used it for their own purposes in violation of the terms he released it under.

The previous ruling, made a year ago yesterday, was that the code had already been released to the public and that the company's use of it didn't constitute copyright infringement (dramatically limiting the developer's options to stop them). This new ruling holds that it is indeed infringement to redistribute open source code in violation of the terms it was released under.

July 17, 2008 by kryo

In a new report issued jointly by the United States Library of Congress and preservation groups in Australia, the UK, and the Netherlands, a problem has been brought to light that companies who use DRM may not have foreseen: their works can't legally be duplicated by the LOC, and may well disappear entirely once the media degrades or the means to use the works are lost.

We've had discussions recently about DRM that causes trouble for legitimate users, but this takes the issue a step further--thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a growing number of games, programs, music, and other digital works may only last as long as the discs they're on.

July 15, 2008 by kryo

In his summary ruling on Blizzard's case against World of Warcraft cheat-maker Michael Donnelly (released yesterday), District Court Judge David Campbell has stated that the act of using a bot in violation of a game's license or terms of use qualifies as a copyright violation. Huh?

Just to get it out of the way, I'm as much against cheats as the next guy. As a WoW player in particular, I'm glad to see Blizzard shut down the cheaters and cheat-makers. But this ruling doesn't make much sense to me; it seems like a case of the judge just trying to find a way to cover something which doesn't really cross any real existing laws. Worse, it sets some (arguably) nasty precedent, effectively making EULAs law (any violation is a violation of copyright), rather than simple contracts where the most you can lose is your right to use the software.

July 8, 2008 by kryo

Some of you may be aware of the "three strikes" plan recently approved in France, where suspected copyright infringers are liable to be banned from the internet for up to a year if they persist after two warnings, and failed efforts to push similar laws across the entire EU a few months back.

Not content to be rebuffed, proponents of the laws have put them back on the table in Brussels, where they were set to be voted on yesterday. No news seems to be available online yet about how it went (any Europeans visitors have details on that?). 

Is banning pirates from the internet going too far, or is it justified?

July 7, 2008 by kryo

In a new joint study recently released by Google, IBM, and Switzerland, it was found that more than four out of ten web users don't have the latest updates for their browsers of choice, and are likely vulnerable to attacks as a result.

It's probably not too surprising, but in the per-browser breakdowns, Firefox and Safari users do mostly keep up to date (83% and 65% running the latest versions, respectively). What is a bit surprising to me, given that users who opt for alternate browsers tend to be more security-conscious than the general internet populace, is that Opera came out with just over half of its users keeping up with patches. And finally, IE ranked at the bottom with a bit less than half of its users running the latest version, despite automatic updates having been standard on Windows machines for some time.

What about you guys? Are you running the latest version of your browser? If not, why not?

June 25, 2008 by kryo

More Firefox news today! Some of you may be aware of Firefox's notorious record for memory usage in older versions--slowly growing throughout the day to the point that few dark corners of your RAM were free from its grasping tendrils. Happily, it looks like those days are now over.

Programmer Sam Allen of Dot Net Perls has released the results of some real-world usage testing of Firefox 3 and other current and upcoming browsers, and Firefox users will find the results quite pleasing: FF3 appears to be far better at using less, and cleaning up no-longer-needed memory than previous versions (usage remained low and fairly steady throughout the testing session).

June 23, 2008 by kryo

Gartner Research announced today that the number of computers currently in use worldwide has now surpassed one billion machines. That's nearly one machine for every six people!

As computers become bigger and bigger parts of our lives, one can only wonder how the world might change with the next billion. Will things get better or worse? Will the continued proliferation of computers usher in a golden age of free knowledge and human networking, or will they isolate us from each other by allowing us to see and hear only what we wish?

On a less philosophical note, how many of us have old machines just collecting dust in the closet (I've got a few myself)?

There are all sorts of potential projects or uses for those old machines and hardware (some helpful, some less so)--any ideas to put them to good use, rather than just wasting space until they find their way to the garbage?

June 19, 2008 by kryo

Following Tuesday's release of Firefox 3, and despite a couple of server downtimes (due to the huge demand), the Mozilla Foundation has announced that the new version of their browser was downloaded more than 8 million times in the first 24 hours of availability! Their claim to the record of most downloads in one day is still being verified by Guinness, but it's still quite an amazing feat.

Personally, I've only just gotten the browser this morning (I first tried during one of the above mentioned downtimes), but already it seems tremendously faster than Firefox 2. I haven't really had much chance to look into the new UI elements just yet, but at least most of my add-ons (all the important ones, anyway) had updates available, and so far they all seem to be working well.

What does everyone else think so far, especially those who weren't previously Firefox users? Is Firefox 3 going to make you switch from IE or Opera? If not, why not?