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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/4386/things-i-learn/

Things I learn

November 30, 2005 by

One reason I like writing techy articles–and genuine geeks should freely scoff at my comparative ignorance of these issues–is that people send in great links to stuff I didn’t know about.

So just now someone sent me to what looks like a great and free antivirus solution for home use (aside from AVG, which is great too): AVAST.


Chris Meisenzahl November 30, 2005 at 9:09 am

I’ve been using AVG for 2 years w/ no trouble, great product.


Roger M November 30, 2005 at 9:14 am

Thanks for the tip!

Ohhh Henry November 30, 2005 at 9:40 am

Sorry to go off-topic on you, but this is un-freaking-believable:

MIAMI –Miami police announced Monday they will stage random shows of force at hotels, banks and other public places to keep terrorists guessing and remind people to be vigilant.

Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats.


W Baker November 30, 2005 at 12:12 pm

What about virtual backups, i.e., backups to a server/hard drive elsewhere. Usually it’s a nominal fee, allows one to backup large data files, e.g., photographs, music, large photoshop/illustrator files, and have it at one’s fingertips anywhere there’s access. Flash memory is usually quite expensive above two gigs.

If it must be flash or mini-drive based – most folks have an iPod or similar device. Partition the drive and use part of the disk or flash memory for backup. Most folks have less than 500 songs on their mp3 players anyway.

.Mac is one such virtual backup solution and might be worth a look. It even throws in a lovely backup programme which does it all for you.

hz November 30, 2005 at 3:33 pm

right… offsite backups of extremely important files (financial spreadsheets, quicken/gnucash/gedcom) info files, tax forms etc.) are wise. They can also be done at zero cost.

web “home page” accounts come free with most ISPs, and services like tripod. You get anywhere from 5 to 20 mb of storage space. There is no rule that this space must be used for a web page to tell the world about your cats. Several megs won’t hold your music collection or all of your family pictures, but it will hold an awful lot of compressed application data.

it is a fairly simple affair on any major operating system to write a batch script to zip up the desired files, optionally encrypt the compressed file, and ftp to it to your web account. Set up a cron job to do it every week and you’re set.

I’ve been doing this for years. There was a fire in my apartment building a couple of years ago, and I was darn glad I had this stuff stored somewhere else.

Dirk Friedrich November 30, 2005 at 6:54 pm

Gmail Drive (http://www.viksoe.dk/code/gmail.htm) is really helpful. It lets you use your gmail account w/ 2.5 GB of storage as HDD.

tz December 1, 2005 at 11:32 am

Because you will keep going back to (Redmond) Washington no matter how bad it is.

This is in answer to “Why Microsoft spends untold billions on X-boxes and new software and online this and that, but can’t seem to put out a decent and safe browser, is a mystery I can’t fathom.”

Why should they? You will buy (maybe indirectly) whatever software swill that is originally slapped onto your computer, no matter how bad, as long as everyone else has the same swill.

If I knew you and the majority of every computer user on the planet would keep paying me $50 for my existing atroicity of an integrated OS, why should I make it better? Of course I can force an upgrade (like from 2000 to XP) even if quality isn’t much better just by dropping support for the earlier version. If you can’t get the old version, and the new one isn’t quite compatible, you will have to pay me again. But if you never choose anything better, why should I not provide the cheapest thing possible?

Why do you do this? If I had the answer, I might be able to deprogram those who constantly vote for either the Democrats or the Republicans, who differ less than 2003 differs from XP.

And I think people here have spoken in support of having Microsoft being able to force Dell, Gateway, HP, Compaq and the rest NOT put firefox or openoffice or anything else competitive on the computers they distribute.

tz December 1, 2005 at 11:42 am

GM (and the US Auto industry in general) in the late 1960s through early 1970s shows the same thing can happen. GM had really bad quality and a 60% market share. But the US quality alternatives weren’t that much better. The Japanese were small and efficient and reliable by the 1970s (Japan had low quality but got the message and easily passed us by then).

When the gas crisis hit, the Japanese cars had better fuel economy, but also didn’t need constant repair, and they noticed that the doors actually fit the bodies.

I could have asked in 1970 why someone bought a GM that was constantly in the repair bay.

So it isn’t merely Microsoft. The tendency seems to be more deep seated. But remember that detroit was the tech capital in the 1920s the same way Silicon Valley was in the 1990s.


Curt Howland December 1, 2005 at 2:31 pm

TZ, Microsoft cannot force Dell et al to do anything. The contracts that Dell et al enter into with Microsoft are voluntary. Buying a machine without an OS has always been possible, just as making a car out of parts has always been possible. And, just like Microsoft, auto makers have set up sole-source contracts with dealers to offer “package” deals, called cars, with only their own parts in them, for special rates, called wholesale, that cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

I have no love of Microsoft, I also think that the Mises.org attachment to Microsoft-only protocols for the media/streaming files is repulsive. However, if you’re going to rail against Microsoft, do it for something real. Like, for instance, proprietary protocols and lousy software.

David J. Heinrich December 1, 2005 at 2:50 pm


I also think that the Mises.org attachment to Microsoft-only protocols for the media/streaming files is repulsive

Really, repulsive? They’re giving away tons of content for free, and because it’s in “Microsoft-only protocols” it’s repulsive?

I’m aware that there are FS/OSS solutions available for compressed audio and video, specifically OGG, which has an excellent live-streaming function (see this Google for “ogg vorbis”). However, it may be excessively costly to provide files in both MP3/MPEG format and OGG-format. And if they’re going to choose just one, it makes sense to choose “MS-format”. Most people are probably using WMP to play video files. The mission of Mises.org is to get free-market ideas out to as many people as possible.

Now, I’m aware that Ogg-Vorbis can now be played on Windows Media Player, and Mises.org could refer people to that. However, it’s a question of CBA: is it really worth it for the purposes of the LvMI?

Curt Howland December 1, 2005 at 4:18 pm

“Really, repulsive?”

Yes. I have to wait for someone to break the DMCA and reverse-engineer the Microsoft protocols before I can view a streaming video, or for Mises.org events, just because I don’t use an MS operating system. Or, I can illegally use the Microsoft decoders themselves. Some choice.

MP3 doesn’t have the same proprietary playback burden that “mms://” and .wmv do. Mp3 can also be streamed.

“And if they’re going to choose just one, it makes sense to choose “MS-format”.”

Why? Why default to something that excludes a substantial portion of the ‘Net? That is irrational. It is much more rational to default to protocols that anyone can utilize, with exceptions made only when particular content requires it.

This example can easily be seen by the HTML texts available on Mises.org, and PDF-only for materials where that is all that is possible (such as scanned texts).

If the purpose is to make the materials available to as wide an audience as possible, then yes indeed it is “worth it”.

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