Things you might want to know about

The last Kodachrome processing machine, at Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas, shut down and will be sold for scrap. This is a bummer, because I think I still have some film laying around that I’ve not gotten ’round to getting developed. They figured out why Skype crashed earlier this month, and it has to do with a bug in a Windows version of Skype that users should have updated but didn’t. But don’t blame the users. They were using Windows, and there is no automatic updating process for software on Windows, like there is in, ahem, Linux. People who use unsecured operating systems such as Windows should not be allowed on large complex and critically important networks like Skype. The Majority of Americans believe that America is on Mission from God.

Android has a virus (a Trojan Horse, technically). Click here. Spam rates are dropping. That is all for now.

Comments

  1. #1 Nemo
    December 31, 2010

    And to be exact… Windows does have an automatic update system, but it only covers the OS itself. In recent years, it’s been extended to cover Microsoft Office as well, although you have to jump through some hoops to set that up. Everyone else is on their own. The smarter programs, like Firefox*, just check for new versions when you start them up. The dumb, obnoxious programs, like Acrobat Reader, add themselves to the Windows startup process instead, and check from there — so you’re always running them, whether you intend to use them or not. And then, of course, the average piece of software probably doesn’t check at all — because it probably isn’t even a network-oriented program, so why add all that just to update?

    One of the big virtues of the app-store-based systems is that they offer centralized updates, just like a Debian-based system.

    * Firefox wasn’t always so polite; it flirted with the add-a-startup-process thing too, back in the day. But it got better.

  2. #2 athdead
    December 31, 2010

    we’re this far from nuking all of you….

    the X-MAS vacuum cleaner for the atheists….

    shermer, randi, myers, pz, dawkins, harris

    thecoolgadgets.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/henry-desktop-vacuum1.jpg

    youtube.com/watch?v=lz4R0GHfM-Y&

    why does everyone always want to PUNCH you, shermer?

    THE HIGH PRICE OF REVOLUTION

    youtube.com/user/xviolatex?feature=mhum

  3. #3 MadScientist
    December 31, 2010

    “They were using Windows, and there is no automatic updating process for software on Windows, like there is in, ahem, Linux.”

    Aside from what Nemo pointed out, a lot of software out there checks for updates (it’s not hard – just a simple http request) and nags the user to install the latest version. Adobe, SolidWorks, Skype, FireFox … the list goes on and on.

    Ah, Jim Belushi … that was an awful movie but it seemed so good at the time. Maybe I ought to watch it again to remind me how bad it was … and of course to watch all the cars piling up under the L.

  4. #4 MadScientist
    December 31, 2010

    I don’t normally give any truck to what’s on the HuffPoo, but if there’s any truth in that article, I find this bit scary:

    “Forty-five percent of Americans say the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life”

    So the other 55% are ignorant of the “values of islam”? You’d think it would be easy enough to look up news articles on any islamic theocracy and see that it’s anathema to our own constitution. That doesn’t mean we should allow bigots to drum them out of town, just that religion should be kept far away from politics. Then again I suppose so-called ‘christian values’ are also at odds with American values and way of life.

  5. #5 MadScientist
    December 31, 2010

    Kodachome was wonderful – but people shouldn’t be too upset about Kodak giving it the chop (unless they have some undeveloped rolls, in which case it couldn’t have meant much to them if they didn’t bother to develop them after Kodak’s announcement about 2 years ago).

    Even back in ~1993 I used the cheaper and excellent FujiChrome (Velvia 50 was one of my favorites). Kodak still have color positives (Ektachrome rather than the old Kodachrome process) but it’s been so long since I’ve used Ektachrome that I can’t remember what the results were like – they can’t be bad though or Kodak wouldn’t be selling it as a professional film. For negatives I loved an old ASA25 film made by Kodak; I can’t even remember the name – but that was discontinued decades ago. For outdoor photography the color reproduction was excellent and the grain qualities were also very good – I could shoot a 35mm frame and blow it up to 1.5m (magnification of ~43 as opposed to the more typical ~4 for prints) and the resulting image was still very good when viewed up close.

  6. #6 Lyle
    December 31, 2010

    The ASA 25 file was Kodachrome. In the 1970s there was a asa 25 and an ASA 64 version of the film. Wikipedia says the film started out at ASA 10 went to 12 in 1955 and 25 in 1962 and 64 in 1974. Its interesting how the speed of the film increased as the processing technology changed. Note that the article also says that a Kodachrome slide runs 20 megapixels, so only very recently do digital cameras match this.

  7. #7 MacTurk
    December 31, 2010

    MadScientist@no 4; The values of the Christian right are equally at odds with American values and way of life.

    And given US demographics(Muslims are less than 1% of population), the Xtian right is both a bigger threat, and a more urgent one.

  8. #8 MacTurk
    December 31, 2010

    This little gem was at the bottom of the article in question, and I found it even more alarming;

    “And 11 for 2011. Nearly 6-in-10 Americans affirm American exceptionalism, that God has granted America a special role in human history. Those affirming this view are more likely to support military interventions and to say torture is sometimes justified.”

  9. #9 Stephanie Z
    December 31, 2010

    And the vaues question evokes a different answer depending on which values one pays attention to. The vast majority of values of pretty much any relgion are the bland, common values of humanity, claimed to throw some heft of authority behind the rest.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    December 31, 2010

    Nemo: And to be exact… Windows does have an automatic update system, but it only covers the OS itself.

    Windows does not have an automatic software update system. The OS has an update system, but each software install is on its own, which is the point! As you point out, it is a mess. MadS: Right, you Windows has the whole nag thing going. You’ll find that many “update” nags are just ads.

    Linux, on the other hand, just works. I hear Mac, based on *nix and thus Linux like underneath it all, had a similar system but it is no longer working as well. Not sure of that.

  11. #11 MadScientist
    December 31, 2010

    So which distribution has the automatic update? I have to run ‘apt-get update’ and then ‘apt-get upgrade’, nor would I want software to install itself without asking me.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    December 31, 2010

    Snaptic can be configured various ways. On my laptop, I’m told that there are updates. I ask to be told no more than once a week. I click on Update (if I want) and enter my password, and whatever is supposed to be updated gets updated. If I look (and I do) I can see in advance what that is, but an end user may well not do that.

    On my desktop, I have it download the updates in the background but still require it to ask me for permission to do the updates. I can be configured (with a checkbox) to install security updates automatically.

    I want to totally control my laptop because I may or may not want downloading, depending on internet connection, and I’m fairly likely to want to shut that machine down during some process. The desktop is easier to leave running while it is doing updates, and the internet connection is via a LAN and obviously is always the same connection.

    Go to System/Adminstration/Update Manager/Settings

    But even the system you are using now, entering those commands, is way more automatic. There are exceptions, like some Java-based software, and that is very annoying, but it is pretty much true that everything that is normal software gets updated automatically when you apt-get.

  13. #13 Nemo
    December 31, 2010

    The Mac has “Software Update”, but as with Windows, it only covers Apple software, AFAIK. However, Apple is brining the App Store to the Mac in a few days, which should be huge.

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