When Bifocals Are Not Enough

I don’t honestly thing that I’ve ever had 20/20 vision.  Back when I was six years old I got my first pair of glasses which I was supposed to wear for reading.  By the time I was twelve years old I had a much stronger prescription and I was wearing them full time.  Over the years my lenses had to be stronger and stronger.  In my early forties I made the change from single vision to bifocals because anything that corrected for distance made focusing close all but impossible.

At this point I’m looking forward to my next eye exam because for the last several months my vision has changed enough that I’ve actually had to use the bottom part of the bifocals to see things up to twenty feet away like the clock across the room or when watching TV.

This lack of focus up close includes anything at a normal reading distance, including my computer monitor.  A few months ago I actually had to increase the default font size that Windows used in order to be able to read anything on screen without magnifying it.

Samsung Widescreen LCD MonitorThen I saw a widescreen LCD monitor and suddenly I had a brilliant idea.

Why not use it for a computer monitor?  I realize that things like this are primarily intended to be used as TV displays but I can’t help thinking that it shouldn’t be a big problem to find the necessary adapters and cables on sale and I’d be able to replace my 17 inch CRT with this 21inch flat screen LCD.  Not only that, but since LCD’s use a lot less power than CRT’s do, it would cut my electric bill and even be “environmentally friendly”

(I refuse to say “green“, I HATE that term with a passion because of how overused it is.)

Technorati Tags: nearsighted, vision problems, eye exam, glasses, bifocal

How To Change The Home Page On Firefox

I was browsing through the search logs this morning and noticed that there were several searches with the query: “how to change home page on firefox” , “change firefox homepage” and a few others related so I thought I’d write up a quickie tutorial showing how to do it.

It’s actually a simple task.  First you need to click on the “Tools” menu and then “Options”.

firefox tools options

Then on the “Main” tab, there’s a dropdown to select what Firefox shows when it first starts up.

Under that there is a text box to enter the url of the page that you want to set as “Home”.  The buttons under the home url box allow you the options of setting the current page as the home page, selecting one from your bookmarks, or restoring the default home page.

firefox options main

Technorati Tags: home page, set home page, firefox tutorial, firefox

New Version of MMS Released

It’s been a long time since I did anything with MMS (Mixminion Message Sender) but I’ve finally gotten back to it.

MMS Finally has word wrap, which means there shouldn’t be anymore of those really ugly long lines.

There are also now three distributions.  The original which only contains MMS itself, a second that includes Mixminion 0.0.7.1 and a third that includes Mixminion 0.0.8alpha3

The official download page is here: http://peculiarplace.com/mixminion-message-sender

Here’s the current changelog entry with all of the details:

02/10/09 -1.2.6
Removed Beta designation.  Over 3 years is more than long
enough for “beta” (yikes! has it been THAT long?!)

Added LineWrap code contributed by drsnoid.  Messages are now
word wrapped at 65 characters / line.

Added “Word wrap on send” checkbox. Checked by default

Created a third distribution using a copy of Mixminion
0.0.8alpha3 built and contributed by “Antonio from Italy” for
those who want to use a win32 version of the most recent
Mixminion release.  I have been using this build since
5/23/2008 without any problems.

Changed max newsgroups to 3 to prevent msgs from being lost
in m2n’s that only allow 3 since more and more are making
this change in efforts to reduce excessive cross posting by
trolls.

Changed processing of the references line to make certain
that message id’s are separated by only one space character
by removing all space and tab characters and replacing them
with single space characters.

Added Richtx32.ocx v6.0 to program directory so that MMS will
work on Vista Note: this is un-tested on vista because the
one vista machine I had access to refuses to boot anymore.

Changed Mixminion command line to force mixminionrc to stay
in the Mixminion program directory instead of it’s default.
This change makes MMS portable. I have tested it on Windows XP
running it from a flash drive.  I’ll appreciate any reports
from people who can try it out on vista.  No testing done on
Win 98, also because I don’t have a win 98 machine available,
however it should work fine.

Technorati Tags: anonymity, privacy, mms, mixminion, open source, freeware, software, mixminion message sender, anonymity software, windows mixminion gui, anonymous email

Privacy Policies Need Simplifying (DUH!)

This sounds kinda obvious to me but there’s some recent research from Carnegie Mellon University into the subject that’s got potential to be eye opening to a degree.  They came to the conclusion that the average user would take 200 hours to read through the privacy policies of the sites they visit in the course of one year.  And since everything these days is translated in to money, they also determined that this would have a hypothetical cost to the US economy of $365 billion, more than half the value of the big money bailout package.

It’s obvious because anybody who has ever taken the time to read a privacy policy in full will know that because they’re almost always written in legalese, they’re rather difficult to read and overly verbose.  Never let it be said that a lawyer will say something in 200 words when he could use two thousand.

Privacy policies need to be brief and easy to understand.  For example, like many sites, this one has a “policies” page.  There’s a section in it covering my privacy policy. It’s three short paragraphs long and I think it’s clear enough.  What’s great is that I didn’t have to get somebody to translate it into legalese and make it thirty times longer.

Is it any wonder why most people just click through a privacy policy or End User License Agreement without bothering to read it?  Who want’s to spend ten to twenty minutes trying desperately to translate legalese in their head?  I for one have enough migraine headaches without adding to the problem that way!

Technorati Tags: privacy, legalese, too long, privacy policies, hard to read

New Version Of Mixminon Message Sender Released

After a LONG time without updates, version 1.2.5-Beta of Mixminion Message Sender is now available.

There’s been several changes / tweaks in the code (see the changelog below) and I’ve created a new distribution that includes Mixminion ready to run “out of the box”.

I have not yet been able to compile Win32 binaries of the latest version of the Mixminion software so it’s still using version 0.0.7.1.  When I am finally able to, I’ll include Mixminion 0.0.8alpha3 (or whatever version is current at the time.).

I’ll have a new edition of the Freenet MMS page inserted sometime over the next few days.

Changelog:
05/18/08 -1.2.5-Beta
Bugfix: error in mail2news gateway selection code caused @m2n.4096.net to be ignored.
Code is fixed, but the gateway isn’t working as of this release.

Removed @newsanon.org from mail2news gateway list since it’s been confirmed down
for quite a while.

Created a second distribution that includes mixminion already set up so that it’s
ready to run “out of the box”

Changed dummy packet generation to allow creating multiple packets,
default set to 3 packets at a time.

Changed “Clear form” command so that it sets the mail2news gateway to @m2n.mixmin.net instead of “None”

Set default update interval to 2 hours if “Auto Update Servers” is enabled.

Changed minimum possible hops from 2 to 3 to insure minimum safe anonymous path

Changed maximum possible hops to 29 after experiments showed it to work

Changed SURB generation so that first and last hop select boxes and Number of hops
droplist control the SURB path

Made the ‘get path’ routine into a subroutine that’s now called from several places
instead of duplicating code

Technorati Tags: Anonymity, anonymous, anonymous+email, freeware, mixminion, mixminion+gui, mixminion+message+sender, Open+source, program, remailer+client, Software, type+III+remailer, type+III+remailer+client, win32+mixminion+gui

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