Great Commentary from Hackaday

The $2500.00 (MSRP) Kick Ass PC I had built by HP 4-1/2 years ago exceeds all of Microsoft’s performance requirements for Windows 11. However, because the 3.4GHz, quad core, 8 processor, CPU that I can never load more than 50% with intense CAD and multimedia work, is not a new enough Intel i7, I won’t be able to run Windows 11. 😦

I’ll probably migrate to a Linux Distro in 2024 especially since most of what I run can already run in *nix and I already use VM’s to run older Win32 CAD packages.

Unfortunately for the majority of people on the planet this won’t work for them. Instead many will trash the old systems leading to this potential outcome:

A NEW OS SHOULDN’T CAUSE AN E-WASTE CRISIS

Source: The Great Windows 11 Computer Extinction Experiment | Hackaday

I understand that Microsoft and it’s PC manufacturing partners need to sell new hardware. However they really should think more carefully what they are doing to the planet with this rather arbitrary forced obsolescence based on processor age, not performance. (My i7-6700 3.4GHz is way more powerful than many of the supported CPU’s)

Of course given the longer term industry trends this may backfire and force many more Windows users to switch to Chrome books and boxes, which frankly are a better choice for ordinary users. It seems really weird that Microsoft doesn’t seem to recognize that their migration of everything to the cloud has removed the need for a Windows PC for the vast majority of people on the planet.

SolarWinds hackers Clearly Indicate They Think the Most Gullible US Citizens are Trump Supporters

On Tuesday, Nobelium blasted 3,000 different addresses with emails that purported to deliver a special alert from USAID concerning new documents Former President Trump had published about election Fraud.

Only fools who do not understand what USAID is and believe the silly election fraud confidence trick would click the link.

Source: SolarWinds hackers are back with a new mass campaign, Microsoft says | Ars Technica

FlashPix (.fpx) File Conversion

Back at the turn of the century there was file format in Kodak and other digital cameras that offered lossless compression. This format was essential back when cameras were one megapixel or less and any JPEG compression severely limited post processing capabilities.

At that time nearly all photo editing software supported this open standard file format but as camera resolutions increased FlashPix was dropped by manufacturers and the software vendors followed a little later. By the start of the last decade only a few programs supported the format and usually only in the 32 bit versions with plugins that needed to be installed and configured (hard to do for ordinary folks).

I thought I had converted everything I’d ever need back when PaintShop Pro still supported FPX but I was wrong. A decade ago I found a handful of photos I’d taken to document experiments for my job. Searching around I found My ViewPad a free image viewer that still works on modern Windows to view FlashPix files and convert them to many other file formats.

This morning I discovered 90 photos that had never been converted! Since there was such a large number of photos to convert I decided to try out some of the programs that were supposedly capable of doing batch conversion of FPX photos 10 years ago. Unfortunately none of those programs can open FPX files in 2021 (XnView/Convert & IfranView) :-(. So I’m going to have to convert these 90 photos one by one using the still great My ViewPad.

A final tip, when converting your FPX files save them in a lossless format to keep the quality as high as possible. The extra size on these low megapixel photos is insignificant by 21st century data storage standards. Probably the best choices are lossless PNG or TIFF because they are supported by every photo viewing/editing package I’ve tried.

Cory Nails It

The problem is that we’re confusing automated persuasion with automated targeting. Laughable lies about Brexit, Mexican rapists, and creeping Sharia law didn’t convince otherwise sensible people that up was down and the sky was green.

Rather, the sophisticated targeting systems available through Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other Big Tech ad platforms made it easy to find the racist, xenophobic, fearful, angry people who wanted to believe that foreigners were destroying their country while being bankrolled by George Soros.

Source: Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags – Locus Online

Microsoft Trying to Force Teams Desktop on Users

Microsoft must be getting desperate, they pushed out an Office update that sneakily installs a special program to automatically try installing Teams every time any user logs in. They even went so far as to name the program “Teams Machine-Wide Installer” so that it is nearly impossible to find and uninstall (all other Microsoft software has a name starting with Microsoft which is easy to find in the remove list). Thanks to the reddit users who pointed out the name.

Windows 10 device descriptor request failed

Yesterday I encountered the error in the post title when moving my StarTech 4 Port USB to Serial Adapter from a 10 year old PC (that finally died) to my current engineering workstation. I’d never experienced that particular error before so I Googled it and read about a dozen articles with suggestions for fixing it and none of them helped.

Being an engineer of electronic instruments I realized I needed to step back, assume nobody posting on the internet really has a full grasp of how USB works, and think about the system and how to methodically troubleshoot the problem. I soon realized that I’d skipped what should always be the first tests, cables. I have the USB/Serial box mounted at the test bench and it’s connected via a long USB cable and extension back to my workstation. To make a long story short, I learned that this device is less tolerant of using excessively long (out of spec long) USB cables than other USB 2.0 devices I use. For convenience I was using an existing run that made the total distance 8 meters. Swapping the 4.5 meter extension cable for a 2 meter extension cable fixed the problem.

BTW – looking back on this problem where I wasted at least an hour of my time I noticed there was a clue on the product page. The Accessories tab lists one single item, 15 ft USB 2.0 Active Extension Cable.