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Catfood Earth 3.42

Catfood Earth 3.42

Catfood Earth 3.42 is a small update to the latest (2016d) timezone database and the latest timezone world and countries maps from Eric Muller. If you use the political borders, places or time zones layers in Catfood Earth then you'll want to install this version.

Download the latest Catfood Earth.

(Previously)

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Catfood Earth 3.41

Catfood Earth 3.41

Catfood Earth 3.41 fixes a problem that was preventing the weather radar layer from loading.

I've also updated to the latest (2015g) time zone database and the latest time zone map from Eric Muller.

Download the latest Catfood Earth.

(Previously)

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Updates were installed...

Microsoft you are literally killing me. Please tell me there is a reason.

Windows 10 has had a reorg of notifications. People in Redmond have spent quality time thinking about how and when to bother me. User experiences have been imagined, focus grouped, re-imagined, tested, pushed out to beta, revised, polished and finally shipped in a heaping turd of time wasting.

After one of the never ending reboots following some critical update or other I get a nice popup to let me know that updates were installed:

Updates were installed...

I'm not sure this is the most important news I'll read all day but fine, thank you and I click the little x to dismiss.

Windows at this point knows that it's told me about the updates, and it knows that I've seen the message because I took the time to actively dismiss it.

So why is this now in the Action Center:

Updates were installed...

I have to acknowledge my latest helping of updates all over again. It's the sort of double confirmation I'd really value before inadvertently nuking Belgium but for pretty much anything I've ever seen in Action Center it's overkill. It's causing the most anger I've had with an Operating System since I had to Google how to shut down Windows 8.

Windows 10 is on 110 million devices. Assuming a reboot a week and three seconds per device spent dismissing the extra message we're looking at a cost of $28 million a year (at US GDP). Microsoft has said it expects a billion Windows 10 devices in 2-3 years. Even at global average GDP that's $64 million down the drain.

It's not a quirky design decision, it's a class action lawsuit waiting to happen.

Smart people must have spent time on this. Please tell me why?

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Catfood Earth 3.40

Catfood Earth 3.40

I've just released Catfood Earth 3.40 for Windows and 1.50 for Android.

Both updates fix a problem with the clouds layer not updating. The Android update also adds compatibility for Android 5 / Lollipop.

Also, Catfood Earth for Android is now free. I had been charging $0.99 for the Android version but I've reached the conclusion that I'm never going to retire based on this (or even buy more than a couple of beers) so it's not worth the hassle. Catfood Earth for Windows has been free since 3.20.

Enjoy!

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Going Chrome

Going Chrome

I came to Chrome OS by a circuitous route. Initially I though a browser in a box was a silly, under-powered toy. But then I needed a meeting machine for work.

To start with I decided to use an old Macbook. It was running OSX 10.5 (Leopard) which is a bit out of date so I thought I'd update it to the latest 10.8 (Mountain Lion) goodness. But this turned out to be impossible to do from my desk. Before I could go to 10.8 I'd have to get physical media for 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and patch it up to the point where it would accept an upgrade. This meant shipping a disc or visiting an Apple Store and getting smarmed at. Unacceptable.

So I decided to ditch OSX and install Windows 8. This was a cheap online purchase and a painless install... but Windows 8 is a disaster on a non-touch device. Everything takes an extra few clicks or a half-mile scroll to the right. 

Live tiles seem like a good idea until you realize that you're not looking at the start screen often enough for them to be of any value. If Microsoft had introduced a permanent ticker at the bottom of the screen or a secondary tile screen on all Windows 8 certified devices life could have been more interesting. 

Removing the start button so you have to go into touch and swipe mode to do anything is a pain. A boot to desktop mode would be great for older devices.

The deal breaker though is the increasingly assertive Windows Update. Twice in meetings it decided to reboot the computer. It used to be you could delay updates for hours but Windows 8 just knows that the latest patch is more important that whatever you happen to be working on and cheerfully pulls the plug. 

Admittedly you can figure out how to find the vestigial, non-Windows 8 config for Windows 8 and go to manual mode. And then figure out how to turn off the nagging for not having the recommended Windows Update setting. But but by this point you realize that you've got a operating system that is about updates first and getting work done second. And Windows 8 Windows Update doesn't even update Windows Store apps so you've got a live tile nagging for updates every five seconds as well. 

On top on the Windows 8 horror the Macbook was old, heavy and had a puny battery. Also, after installing Windows 8 the only software I needed to install was Chrome and the office VPN client. Once this sunk in I ordered the new Samsung Chromebook.  

Setup on the Chromebook is: 1. Login to your Google Account (with support for two-factor authentication), 2. Choose a wallpaper (optional). 

I'm not likely to use a Chromebook as my primary machine any time soon. It is however a meeting powerhouse for email, IMs, calendar and note taking. I replaced Skype with imo.im (which I've used on Android for a while). Full Outlook web access took a bit of head scratching - see this post for details. Google Apps and Hangouts work seamlessly as you'd expect. It's light and the battery lasts all day.

The only niggle so far is that Chrome OS doesn't support the flavor of VPN that my company uses. It would be nice to get to the wiki, but it's not a deal breaker (If you have a Cisco VPN that insists on a group name go vote for this bug). 

Microsoft and Apple should be really rather worried.

Updated 2013-07-17 13:54:

Two quick updates.

Providing a group name to use with Cisco VPN devices was added in Chrome 28. Unfortunately it still doesn't work for me. I've filed issue 261241 on the chromium bug tracker for this - you can star this issue if you have the same problem.

Skype has managed to block Imo.im so that no longer works for Skype on a Chromebook. I'm using IM+ for now, but it's not nearly as good - it doesn't remember passwords and it keeps silently losing connectivity so it's easy to miss chats.

(Read the full Chromebook adventure: Part 1: Going Chrome, Part 2: Staying Chrome? and Part 3: Leaving Chrome)

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Reviews and Links for August 2012

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

5/5

Stonking police procedural set in the months leading up to a global catastrophe.

 

Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

5/5

Excellent techno-thriller. A little more serious and focused than Daemon and Freedom (TM). It's about a worst case drone scenario, ants, extra-special forces and some smart birds. Very good.

 

Links

Windows 8, Users 0? http://t.co/966Cuwjz

Bill Nye declares Todd Akin "fucking idiot"; issues debate challenge http://t.co/AZ3k55Y4 #fb

ITHCWY: Fight Facebook with Email: I was a little saddened to read today that Diaspora is transitioning over to… http://t.co/2G0pDdu0

Diaspora Founders To Move On, Handing Over Decentralized Social Network ‘To The Community’ http://t.co/KQGb2kpv -- sad, but not the future

RT @MargaretAtwood: Just used http://t.co/Nhna2CGO for gruesome printer problem: excellent, done in 10 mins! Tks to S H E F I N. Website ...

Check out Catfood Earth Live Wallpaper on Google Play! https://t.co/NTJQ1sYL

ITHCWY: Twenty-Four Hours with Twilio: I've wanted to play with Twilio's voice and SMS service for a while and… http://t.co/KOK0PG2M

Tuesdays http://t.co/BLNiCP3H

Twitter Cuts Off Tumblr's Ability to Find Friends http://t.co/1g3ZcClf

5 of 5 stars to The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters http://t.co/9NF2nviH

XML: http://t.co/VadVt321 #rofl

Windows 8 Is Now Available For Developers (And For Everybody Else, There’s A 90-Day Free Trial, Too) http://t.co/iu1li6BV

Gotye's YouTube orchestra remix of "Somebody That I Used to Know" http://t.co/OUEXXltQ

ITHCWY: City by the Bay: View from Bernal Hill this afternoon. http://t.co/11cI3ctk

Nice panorama! Curiosity rover: Martian solar day 2 #360pano http://t.co/w1H2ocUm via @360cities

ITHCWY: Share a picture in MonoDroid: Here’s how to share a picture to Facebook, Twitter and so forth from… http://t.co/pByzvjmx

5 of 5 stars to Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez http://t.co/TKgUMNW0

BBC News - Mars rover makes first colour panorama http://t.co/fZ7u8smZ

How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking http://t.co/BDmRAbm3

Via KQED Guides: Guide to Bay Area Tidepools: Where to Explore Amazing Marine Life | http://t.co/TDBRDnTD #todo @myEN

ITHCWY: Catfood: WebCams for Android: I’ve just released a WebCam app for Android. It’s based on WebCamSaver but… http://t.co/azZUwkkz

Pay for a new social network with no ads? https://t.co/2tox3c2y Anyone I know going to be on there? #fb

Curiosity http://t.co/D2cyWE66

BBC News - Photo shows Mars rover descent http://t.co/KfOv1qOF

Catfood WebCams for Android - Catfood Software http://t.co/VzeySq90 via @CatfoodSoftware

Check out Catfood WebCams on Google Play! https://t.co/VTU8YiBd

ITHCWY: Not a Private Key: When jarsigner says "Key Associated with [alias] not a private key" it almost certainly… http://t.co/3sk89ENV

ITHCWY: Sending email via GMail in C#/.NET using SmtpClient: I’ve stubbed my toe on this a couple of times, so here… http://t.co/QJ7YjcjI

Help end patent litigation insanity and tell your congress person to back SHIELD. http://t.co/27anadBt

ITHCWY: Support SHIELD–a small measure of patent sanity: A friend pointed me at the SHIELD (PDF) act today. This… http://t.co/ArXHgZ0e

ITHCWY: Thank you for choosing HSA Bank!: No, thank you HSA Bank for not giving me a choice and then cheekily… http://t.co/9torSXCq

Bill would force patent trolls to pay defendants’ legal bills | Ars Technica http://t.co/poB3zzlX +1, via @sr00t

What a happy coincidence. As well as #IPAday it's also goof off at work day: http://t.co/7AItItWq

Apparently it's #IPADay - luckily there's some @21stAmendment in the fridge. http://t.co/jyYPSePC

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Reviews and Links for November 2011

Reamde by Neal Stephenson

Reamde by Neal Stephenson

5/5

Intelligent and humorous if highly contrived thriller set loosely around an MMORPG. Loved it.

 

Embassytown by China Miéville

Embassytown by China Miéville

4/5

Highly original tale of colonists cohabiting with some very unusual aliens with a very unusual language. It reads like J.G. Ballard and Nicholson Baker decided to collaborate on some SciFi.

 

The Affair (Jack Reacher, #16) by Lee Child

The Affair (Jack Reacher, #16) by Lee Child

3/5

Not bad, returns to when Reacher was in uniform and tells the story of how he left the Army (the answer may surprise you). As with the last few in the series it all comes a little too easily and you wish there was at least one worthy opponent. I'm hooked though so as long as Child keeps writing them I'll keep reading.

 

Professional Android 2 Application Development by Reto Meier

Professional Android 2 Application Development by Reto Meier

3/5

Solid foundation and covers the platform you need to target to reach the majority of Android devices.

 

Links

RE: Feel free to use the code, no attribution required.  http://t.co/IJTcOz3p

BBC News - 7 questions on computer programmes http://t.co/XKylU7WT (more of a history / pop culture quiz)

Scooby-Doo and Secular Humanism: http://t.co/4h8M8kkK

4 of 5 stars to Embassytown by China Miéville http://t.co/kPwIrmDF

ITHCWY: Occupy Intellectual Ventures: Send them a troll. Now. http://t.co/VorWmZpz

Wow, My Flout score is -7 on @floutdotme! Get yours at http://t.co/1Sl8ei72

troll the troll! send a troll doll to intellectual ventures. http://t.co/S09ML14T via @nathtone

Walking through doorways causes forgetting, new research shows: http://t.co/JBbJXAaD

+1: Why Software Projects are Terrible and How Not To Fix Them: http://t.co/kE7WWix5

Hilarious, I had to Google how to power off Windows 8. Didn't figure it our until the third link: http://t.co/X1wrkh7R #fail

Building a Useful Task Board: http://t.co/icc8y4cU - only this should be a large monitor and an #API

#API Design Webinar http://t.co/rbDwus37 from @theamiableapi - some very valuable nuggets

Wow. Going to have to get this as a poster just to fully grok it: http://t.co/Z6iie3K5

ITHCWY: PolyLineM support in Catfood.Shapefile: I’ve just updated Catfood.Shapefile, my ESRI Shapefile parser for… http://t.co/ll50wcEi

Cal band at justanswer http://t.co/QOLcbe7e (missed this while at lunch)

Citogenesis: http://t.co/EH5K2xLg

Extensive document dump on Microsoft's shallow anti-Android bullying: http://t.co/tdEhMNLh #patents from @groklaw

Toast sandwich is UK's 'cheapest meal' http://t.co/0LG9zNOl (can't possibly be true - not factoring in cost of electricity!)

Analysis: The Darwin Economy: http://t.co/pSDkxupL

So True: What Your Favorite Map Projection Says About You: http://t.co/dW8pl2uK

Bootstrapped Company Behind iDrive, iBackup Is Fed Up With Patent Trolls: http://t.co/DP6KFLxH

The Real Cost of Patent Trolls: http://t.co/1Cu4C6cV via @bfeld

Flying rhinoceros: http://t.co/MIhWtT3L

Cool: 1% Of Nothing Launches To Get Startups Donating Equity: http://t.co/ZNy7HcZl

3 of 5 stars to Professional Android 2 Application De... by Reto Meier http://t.co/UqCtaJ3Z

'Have the people who designed this protocol really never made the twenty mile drive to San Francisco?' - http://t.co/wWk77ZpQ

Explaining 'Jobs' to Rudy Giuliani: http://t.co/ek78XEe9

ITHCWY: Catfood: Klout and Follower: Klout is building PageRank for people. You get a score between 0-100 based on… http://t.co/rGyYkY9q

Catfood Follower 1.40: http://t.co/79xDac4F via @CatfoodSoftware

Old friends... No CDTV though! At #CHM http://t.co/WGw6VOOL

How much did I used to want one of these! http://t.co/lHhnY0AG

At #CHM for Norvig v Horvitz. Will punch anyone who mentions Searle's Room. http://t.co/wPRO8tYa

Don't do it, like defining π as 4: BBC News - Changes to the world's time scale debated http://t.co/hFkrZi4g

RESTful API Design, Second Edition http://t.co/uZthmj9c #API from @landlessness

Rudy wishes I hadn't just shown him: "Saber-toothed squirrel" from the dinosaur days - Boing Boing http://t.co/Wf7Y0ttH

Marked as to-read: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries http://t.co/MC9M0Iti

Ex-Google Reader Product Manager Posts Scathing Review Of Reader Redesign | TechCrunch http://t.co/DscEAHTw

Google indexing via POST: http://t.co/oM2JmHqI (P.S. may not grok your robots.txt, suggests bending over)

Writing helpful API documentation « The Amiable API http://t.co/rx9QdKyk #API

Oakland PD confused: An Open Letter to the Citizens of Oakland From the Oakland Police Officers Association http://t.co/W5LIBY7D (me too)!

Study: why parents help their underage kids pretend to be 13 in order to use Internet sites - Boing Boing http://t.co/aoUSw5wu

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I Thought He Came With You

Robert Ellison's Blog

7,250,102,861 people still need to read this blog.

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