38 posts • joined Sunday 30th September 2007 11:36 GMT
choose your poison !
Between Moolight and the uncertain legal aspects (in lawyer speak : if MS sue, you're doomed), and the fantastically bug ridden Flash 10, I don't see any hope soon. I don't want to mess with moonlight, but flash is so bad it's positively unuseable. Each video taxes 50% of my cpu time (Athlon 900 MHz), while mplayer to replay the very same stream taxes me a paltry 2%.
K-m ? Paah ! Gimme a K-1KD !
5 points AF ? Digital effects on a glorified embeded 486 ? Electronic simulated FOV preview ? What for ?
I want my manual 33 mm (50 mm eq. 24x36) normal lense and match needle cell back !
This said, Pentax is head and shoulders above competitors in the "motivated beginner"'s range. I own an *istDl, which was positionned very much like the K-m when it came out. I'm very happy with it. And, this appreciation is coming from someone you'd have to pry his Olympus OM-1 from his dead, cold, fingers. To name a few pluses I like : no funky proprietary batteries, but AA cells (handy when abroad), robust build, good, uncrippled "advanced user" modes, faithful colors (if the right mode is selected). Icing on the cake : linux support via ufraw, easy to find color profiles, seamless integration with lcms (and anything using it afterward).
(@Martin : a bridge is for taking pictures, a reflex is for crafting images. Gifted individuals can manage the latter with the former, and pretty much with anything else given there's a hole and a black chamber, though, but it helps us common mortals to have the right tool).
back to the 90's
Those that can't learn from history are doomed to re-create it.
And I'm not even sure Raskin didn't picked his ideas somewhere. See, those big irons of the 60's were neat beacause the core memory that was used in those days was by design impervious to power on-off cycles, being magnetism based. No need to compute ? Turn the beast off. Something to do ? Restart it, execution can resume at the point the operator left. I believe the space shuttle's computers work like this too.
So it's not really a novelty ; it's a mere routing around current amnesiac memory technology, to restore a long forgotten functionnality our predecessors could have taken for granted 5 decades ago.
@scotchbonnet : speaking of Wodehouse...
... I've recently indulged into the Mortdecai trilogy by Bonfiglioli. Style is pretty close, it's witty, weird, wicked, un-PC and funny as hell. Highly recommended reading. It's not exactly news as the first part was published in 1972, but it has just been translated into french, and after reading the first chapter in my native tongue, I went straight to my little english bookstore to order the real thing.
IT? because reading a 30+ years old book without a single computer to be seen anywhere is somewhat refreshing.
@s : you're right, my mistake.
I was a bit confused yesterday. You're right. But I still think that downgrading a product to fit another one, even from the same manufacturer, in its place without warning the reader is somehow wrong. What's the purpose of a top if you handpick the winners ?
Paris, because of my sudden IQ drop.
eee 900A anyone ?
While I understand it's up to the editor to limit himself to 10" netbooks, I think the article's title is very wrong not to mention it. So we have in fact the top three 10" netbooks, which is rather limiting.
I, for one, wouldn't even consider the 901 because it's already bigger than the 701 form factor. So after a careful review of the available models, I chose a 900A, which packs in the exact base size of the 701 most of the 901 features. I know which compromises I've made, and I live happily with them.
10"ers certainly have a niche to fill, but I can't pack them with my full size laptop, or I would collapse under the combined weight. A small netbook is all I can carry along, because I wish to read mails, blog, and write personal thing and such on a personal machine, as opposed to my company laptop. I've 2+ hours daily commute time for this, I'm not robbing anyone time, and just want a real physical barrier between what I do for my leisure and what belongs to the guy who feeds me.
Dismissing sub-10" netbooks out of hand is certainly unfair, and not mentionning it borderlines intellectual fraud. All in all, it's a bad article.
As far as I know, there's no option in my 900A bios to disable HT ; I've seen snapshots of some early asus atom bioses showing an option to that effect, but it has since been removed. Anyone knows if it's possible to disable HT on a live linux system (kernel option or something else ?). TIA.
why not ?
The Atom may look good on paper, but for a desktop, I'd go with the celery without a second thought. As mentionned by Patrick, the Atom has a really narrow range of optimisation, and while adequately fast for most basic uses, its power is seriously limited. As far as netbooks go, it's not really a problem, but I suspect a desktop would run smoother with a celeron, even one running 400MHz slower. To be precise, I had a 701 with a 900MHz celeron, I now use a 900A with a 1,6 GHz Atom, and neither feels really slower nor faster than the other. But overall, the atom feels more "jerky".
re: keyboard size
I'm the proud owner of a 900A (that's a cut-down 901 in a 701 form factor) ; I had a 701 for some months before. IMHO, while the size of the keys remained the same, the keyboard itself has been massively improved. It won't help you if your fingers qualify in the saussage range, but the feeling is really better. The original eee keyboard has an obvious defect on the left of the space bar, all those I've seen exhibit a slight rise of the key in that place. On those keyboards, if you don't hit the spacebar exactly in the middle, it's more than likely that no space will appear on the screen. But most keys require a bull's eye strike too. The new keyboard has all its keys flat at the same height, its feeling is less chicklet-type, and it is overall much more forgiving to out-of-center strikes.
But honestly, what really mattered to me was the form factor. I'm just in love with the 701 size, and wouldn't consider going back to something bigger. The 900A is all you drool about the 901 (except bluetooth and wifi n), but fitted in the 701 skin.
As mentionned, I did install a "proper" OS on an alternate usb key, with dual boot. But I noticed I simply wasn't using it ! In fact, it was just a dedicated ScummVM platform, that allowed me to store games outside my regular, work related stuff.
Asus simpleui fits my bill. YMMV.
While I certainly qualify as someone able to install ubuntu on an eee (in fact it's already done on a bootable usb key), or even tailor build a lfs for it (been there, done that some years ago for another machine, would need some more free time to achieve such a project now), I appreciate to use my eee as an appliance, and welcome you for the quick and concise review of the simpleui insides.
Keep on the good job !
Next assignement : how to merge the update patches with the ro system disk partition, instead of shrinking the rw user part of an eee ? :-)
Not exactly a new concept...
More than 10 years ago DEC made the Multia in both alpha and intel versions. It was basically the same idea to cram laptops parts into a design box. Those machines proved extremely prone to overheat and failures due to being (unlike most laptops that are carried around) constantly run at full speed.
Same cause, same effects, I fear.
In defense of asus' Xandros...
Foreword : yes, I'm your typical run of the mill geek (albeit cleverly disguised as a corporate lawyer with tie, aftershave and all), so yes too, 5 minutes after I bought my 701, it was switched in advanced mode, and 20 minutes later, should I need more horsepower, "eeebuntu" was on bootable usb stick, ready to take over the kit. Long story short : I used the stick to play scummvm, and put games out the bas 4Gb. Everything else I needed was stock in xandros, and more often than not, I was switching back to basic mode, because, well, you know, that's the concept of this thing to be an appliance.
Yesterday, I bought a 900A. My wife has inherited the 701, she's happy, thinks it's cute and don't give a sh*t wether it runs windows, linux or the marathon as long as she gets her mails and MSN. She marvels at the desk real estate she's going to get back once her (current) glass CRT will be removed. She spent the evening playing with skype, etc., and marveled that every single wire that cluttered the back of her desk will be gone for good because they're all *inside*, microphone, cam and all !
Me, I certainly won't bother switching on the advanced mode. ctrl+alt+t is enough to make my day on those rare occasions I need to rampage through locked process with top.
One note, though : I've been very disappointed by the Atom, hailed as the miracle solution to everything including hairloss by the crowd. It may run cooler or be less taxing on the battery (but the 900A comes with a 4cells 4400 mAh, versus 6cells 5200 mAh in the 701, evening the field), but I found the computer to be less stable (hitting a key during the boot is a sure way to lock the trackpad solid), and the overall feeling is more "jerky" ; there are unxepected latencies, and then the thing starts to run to catchup, then noticeably slows to cool, and sprints again a moment later... the 701's celeron was much more steady, giving a good sturdy feeling. The pace was slow, but the journey was sure. The Atom, on the other end, seems to have highs and lows like a sprinter on steroids. Only the 9" screen is a clear winner. Otherwise, both models have different pros and cons, but overall are much in the same league. I'm happy I didn't shell out more for a 901, I certainly would have been frustrated. The 900A cost me the same price as the 701 a year earlier.
The good thing with Linux...
... is that pompous asses always take the beating they desserve. It's fairly easy with windows to get a wizard reputation for what amounts to basic script kid tricks. Because even seasoned IT pros are dumbstruck by how backward things are in windows, with every version sweeping clean the knowledge base, anyone with something up his sleeve nearly achieves instant Morris's fame among the clueless crowd of family and office.
Not so with linux.
Linux brings back rationality, predictablity, and learning investment back into the computing scheme. Lazy idiots can't help trying to pull their old tricks, but no-one will ever get impressed by someone stupid enough to build a mega software from source because he can't add a repo line to his apt config to save his life.
Mister, I would have been impressed if you had taken the chance to edit some code and speeded the OO.o boot process by 1 second. But seeing you hitting all the walls like a blind fly because you just can't google and read is plain pathetic.
Legacy NVidia works. Sorta.
The author is 2 days behind ; nvidia has released full 3D legacy drivers, about 6 months late for fedora 9 users, but just in time for Ubuntu.
Those drivers are really Beta, so there's still some ironing ahead (compiz+kde 3 -> illegible fonts ; that's a show stopper).
But in any case, nvidia is solely responsible for that situation, only sharing culpability with those gullible enough to have believed that while not free, nvidia would play fair with customers and not pull the "planned obsolescence" trick on them.
Yes, I too belong to that crowd.
My Xmas list's done !
Linux eee901 for everyone while I can ! I can't believe how backward that move is. Sub-10" are so well balanced between power / size / usability / price I consider them to be true artworks. I can lug a 701 along my full sized laptop everywhere I go. I wouldn't do it with a 10". Everyone I showed it wanted to buy one on the spot. 10" are laptops, not netbooks. Hopefully, if Asus leaves that market, we can hope some chinese OEM will pick up the concept, but the quality won't be the same.
talk about obfuscated !
When Nasa gets its inspiration from cartoons, what could possibly go wrong ?
Pinky: "Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?"
The Brain: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky—try to take over the (martian) world."
Sheriff's really belongs to this place
I have to agree with The Voice of Reason ; the story about the girl under the bed is certainly the most horrifying ordeal that happened to a human being in a supposedly civilised country during peace time. One can only wonder how the brain of that girl did not shattered completely during this truly unbelievable cruelty act. There have been more violent acts, or longer kidnapping, but the balance of both in that specific case is jaw droping.
Cooking and burning dead granny rotting corpse to ashes is totaly piece of cake in comparison. What's chilling is the apparent lack of concern from the sherrif for the aforementionned girl abduction and following psychological damages.
I have an intellectual problem.
I can't see how naked shorting, which basically amounts to the creation of phony shares, is different from playing a term market, which amounts to create funny money. On the one hand, you forge money you don't have - yet - , on the other hand you create shares you don't own -yet -.
How comes everybody and his neighbour (save a few commies desperately clutching to their vintage Marx's opus in the XXth party officially approved edition) is A-OK with term markets and suddenly frowns at naked shorting ? Since when has forging money become somewhat more "moraly acceptable" than creating virtual shares ?
Bill Gates, for obvious reasons.
razorblade model ?
The physical part of the price structure in a book is much less than you'd believe. Paper, ink, printing and shipping certainly accounts for less than 20% of the retail price. You must add unshrinkable parameters to your equation : promotion, advertising, author's fee, publisher cut (to pay for the staff and such), corrections, translations, reseller's costs, etc. Oh, yes, plus taxes, of course.
The main part of the price pays for some people's work, and most of this work is highly qualified (read : expensive). Therefore, a razorblade model would yield a higher price for e-books files than paper books. Clearly impossible.
It's no wonder that books are the vessels of knowledge since 2000+ years ; it certainly is the best compromise between available technology, price, size, and ergonomy (writing notes /in/ a book is dead simple).
eee 701 ?
As far as I know, the 701 is still on sale, new for ~ 100 € less than the 901. While I reckon sometimes I'd like a bigger screen, everything considered, I'm quite fond of it as it is. The balance of the specs vs price is ideal (I won't go as far as calling it "disposable", but by a thin margin), and the form factor allows me lug it around alongside my office-owned, strictly-for-professional-use laptop.
This said, I'll certainly buy another eee (901 or 701, don't know yet) this year for my wife who wants to get rid of her desktop computer. She no longer uses it for work since she graduated and found a job, she only needs email and IM, and the tiny eee fits the bill in our wifi-enabled appartement. This I know from the countless times I found my batteries flat this year, and some subtle clues casually dropped in our talks (never underestimate the power of a glossy pearly white case as a factor of choice in your SO owning impulse) !
"If someone stood on the French side of the Rhein and shot someone on the German side, wouldn't they be tred in Germany?"
Bad analogy ; it's prohibited in France to extradite french nationals (doesn't prevent them to be tried home, though, provided the alleged crime exists in french laws).
It's actually pretty wise from his POV to go after SocGen ; not doing it would imply he accepts dismissal for "gross misconduct", and would give some "flesh" to the SocGen story when time comes of a possible criminal trial. Without streching hair too much, the admitted fault in the realm of working laws could very well be the same one he would face in the criminal court ; it would be a bad idea not to have already disputed it.
But suing them to the contrary is a good move as it is a way to suggest that he wasn't alone in the scheme and that at least, by turning a blind eye, SocGen shares a level of guilt with him. This could lessen his criminal liability in the future.
@steven : OS/2 on a VM
Be careful. OS/2 makes extensive use of the ring 2 of the microprocessor. Not many VM are able to allow that. As far as I know, there's an old beta of vmware with OS/2 support. Qemu is now reported to work, but the process is not exactly straightforward. All in all, it's a lot more difficult than using windows or linux in a VM.
Beg your pardon ?
"It is always a disconcerting to me that folks forget they are tying themselves to Intel when they go with Linux but nothing is ever perfect."
Last I checked linux was only second to NetBSD in terms of CPU agnosticism (and might be ranking first in actual support for useful CPUs, if we prune out legacy chips that are of little actual interest). I had personnaly the opportunity to run linux on Sun Sparc 4m and 4u, Apple PowerPC, Alpha, and of course Intel. I tried a fair deal of other OSes, windows included, but none came close to the ability of linux to run on top of everything you throw at it. For instance, OpenBSD is certainly more secure by default but couldn't use my 2nd processor on Sparc. FreeBSD has long been restricted to Intel. Windows... could theorically be bolted on top of any micro kernel (or so it is said), but MS has always concentrated on Intel, halting developpement of any other platform support (NT4 could run on alpha, albeit in 32 bit mode only).
If I had to choose an OS solely on that basis, linux would be a clear winner for its ubiquity from smartphones to big irons.
(this message posted from an old, linux driven, sparcstation 10).
What is it they have with coffee ?
IANAMD, but from the outlook it seems like there are more american studies done on the alleged dangers of coffee than of nicotin or marijuana. It's like US researchers are desperate to prove that nothing can be enjoyable and tasty without being at the same time (in no specific order) toxic, addictive, dangerous for fertility, and / or making you grow fat.
This study is another case of "see, see, we *told* you ! can't you think about the children ?!"
As others have noticed, most pregnant women can't stand even the smell of coffee, so maybe there's truth in there, but nevertheless, I'm cautious that it may be another case of rampant puritanism. All previous studies on the dangers of cafein have been debunked in the past, so let's wait a bit.
A simple reality check would have shown you this has already been subjected to the EC courts ; search for case C-9/99 and the ruling dated 3 october 2000. The law has been validated by the european judges as a whole.
Anyway, feel free to try setting up this kind of business ; the amazon.fr case took 7 years between the first infringement and the judgement. That leaves plenty of time to pile up money to fend for yourself, and I wish you good luck. But as I pointed out, local prices are already way cheaper than the one you're accustomed to at home, I honesly can't see how you would manage to recoup the necessary investment to export books *cheaper* than they will cost you before shipping.
There is a clear consensus in France about this law : consumers, editors and retailers (even big chains) mostly agree that the law is good for business. It's not because it's a dogma, it's because after 10 years of various regulations in the 70s, where even a completely free market was tried with catastrophic results, the current law was negociated between all the parties involved, and the system has been working to the satisfaction of everybody ever since.
Do you really think our parliament is packed with idiots trained in sub-standard law schools from a third world country ? The 6th § of the 1st article of the law (81-766 10 august 1981 mod. L. 93-1420 31st december 1993) deals with that situation. If objective elements prove that a book was edited or printed in the EU only to avoid being in the scope of the law, but are mostly imported in France and not sold elsewhere, then the importer must comply with the fixed price law.
Oh, and of course, no retailer is subsidised in that country. None. As I already told, the law aims at protecting the editors, not the retailers. I buy many books from England. In your superb, culture friendly country, under the wonderful guidance of free market that should make every book cheaper than their french counterpart, how comes the price tag in £ is already more than 1.5 time as high as what would cost me a french novel ? That is of course *before* import costs are added and the price is changed to € with a comfortable margin. It's easy to check, I just need to peel the € sticker. A pocket book in France is around 6 € ; same book in the UK has a "recommended" street price of 7 £. Import costs have me pay 12 € in the end. Fact is : when you let "free" market play, you end up paying *much more* because the first motion of editors to keep their margins is to create scarcity.
Local shops not the sole beneficiaries of the Lang law
As an afterthought, I follow up on my previous comment.
The aim of the Lang law is to protect the whole book business, not only local shops against big chains or electronic retailers.
As a matter of fact the main beneficiaries of the law are the book editors. That the law as a side effect gives a certain level of protection to local shops is merely bonus in the big picture.
How comes ? Well, it gives all the editors, big and small, the tool to protect their profit margin. Why does the law do that ? Because there's more to print than expected blockbusters, and it helps editors taking risks and printing something else than Madonna's sexual biography. If it wasn't for the law, big chains would pressure editors to lower their profit margins and at the same time would only take large quantities of sure sellers. This would certainly create the vicious circle everybody can notice travelling abroad : less traditionnal shops, unable to compete with big retailers, less offering in demanding litterature, and more expensive books.
Is it efficient ? Well, peek a look at french electronic retailers. See prices. You'll notice that books are generally cheaper in France, not only hit sellers but small runs too, we've yet many more brick and mortar retailers surviving, and we count independant editors by the thousand. So, yes, it is efficient.
French bashing ? @... All
Here we are in another round of french bashing, or so it seems.
What I fail to understand is why is it so difficult a concept to grasp that when you want to do business in another country you are supposed to follow the laws of that country. It's not as if the nationals had a different set of rules to follow.
When french companies break foreign laws, they take a deserved beating in courts. Even if those laws are meant to limit competition. There was a recent case where a french bank was found guilty of taking ownership of an insurance company in the US. Bank and insurance are compatible activities under the french law, why on earth would the US prohibit this (not only prohibit, as a matter of fact, but also criminalize) ? But anyway, as long as the law is the way it is, it doesn't matter. But the uproar it created, as far as I remember, was not to bash the uncompetitive US law, but the french executives who break it. And, as I said, it was well desserved.
So, what I forsee is if amazon keeps on breaking french laws, well, they're going to pay the 1000 € fine not on a per day basis, but on a per book sold basis. And truly, that would be really desserved too.
Now, for those thinking that going elsewhere in the UE will shield them, I can tell it won't. The law doesn't apply to imported books already ; prices are already free for english or US books. But as some may have noticed, not too many readers can actually read in foreign languages, and most customers of amazon.fr expect to find french books. Only those are submitted to the Lang law, and it won't matter where from they are shipped. It would break the law all alike.
Like many people born at the beginning of the 70s', my first exposure to computers was through Basic. But *not* the brain damaged basic from microsoft which couldn't even get its arithmetics right, rather a CBASIC dialect from DRI. In many respects, Java is simply a grand-son from that particular kind of basics, with regard to the pseudo-code / VM part of the thing. I had much fun with it, doing some relatively complex things, but I have to say that I really got a feeling of programming only years later. At that time I had already decided to pursue another career path than becoming an IT professional, but I was still hanging with nerdy friends (all were beginning their CS degree). So I self taught myself C and x86 asm just to be able to do their assignements as a challenge. There, I met pointers and my life changed forever. Once you can imagine your pointers dancing in front of you, you can program anything in any language : you're sure to beat the cr*p out of any high-level programmer, in terms of performance of course, but also in terms of internal logic ; your programs are sure to be of a *much* better quality.
I understand the rant of the two professors : java hides the pointers, and it's the worst trick you can play on a wannabe programmer. If you can't tell a value from a reference, you can only produce substandard code. Maybe java is right for seasoned professionals, to help them meet their goal quickly, but seasoned professional intuitively knows what the language is really doing from the look of it. So they feel if a method is actually using a value or a pointer, and pick the right one accordingly. A beginner can't make a good choice while he doesn't knows there is a difference. C is an extremely good language to teach pointers because if you mess with them, they bite you hard.
Today ? I'm still not part of the IT crowd, but I like to occasionaly toy with programming. While I can do decent C, and a few other languages, I've reverted to my old Basic friend since I've met Gambas under Linux. This language despite its quirks can produce amazing results (think of it as java semantics with a basic syntax). The interpreter/VM is not polished yet, but its main author is working hard on it, and it already works extremely well on a 32 bits linux-intel box (next step : 64 bits cleanup).
Right, now, explain me this :
As it turned out, she finally managed to get out of that trap because the case created an enormous uproar, but it remains that :
- she was convicted by a jury
- she was labelled a sex offender
- the "crime" was commited with a computer.
So moreover she should have her internet access revoked now ?
Note that she never had *any* choice to avoid filling the conditions set by the law : as soon as the classroom computer went berzerk on its own, she was indeed guilty because as I understand it, most sex offenses are criminalized by *statute laws*. The purpose of statute laws is to *exclude* the impossibility of choice as a mean of defense. It's akin to being at the wrong time in the wrong place. So called "sex offenses" do not even require sexual intention. For many of us foreigners with a basic knowledge of criminal justice principles (those you can read in Beccaria, for instance), this just is plain wrong.
Think about the children ?
Admitedly, my knowledge of US legislation is at best sketchy, but having read that you can put for lifetime on sex offenders' lists for small offences like taking a pee in public, mooning police agents, and sending nude pictures of yourself to your date while underage, I fail to see why on earth those people should be banned from the Internet at large. This reeks of witch hunting.
What merits ?
A couple of persons have mentionned "merits" of Office here, implying that ease of use was the #1 item on top of the list.
But as I see it, the Dutch legislative body favored long term access and preservation of the documents over a (mostly supposed) ease of use.
Isn't that a real -democratic- merit in itself ?
on cars, computers, et al.
First, in France, as a matter of fact, you can choose the brand of the tires your car comes with. It doesn't mean the car company has to sell the car bare, but the consummer has a right to make his choice and not be bound by third parties exclusivity deals passed in his back.
Second, the damages for Acer were steep because they basicaly told the judge to F**k off, that the bundle was not breakable into subparts. I don't have all the details, but I think the plaintiff went with some quotations for indivual, street priced, softwares in the bundle, so the judge simply told Acer : "unboundable ? see : let me add this up", and *bang*. It's just a matter of burden of the proof. All Acer had to do was to quote OEM prices for each part of the bundle, but had they done that, they'd probably violated their exclusivity contracts and exposed the true price they are quoted for windows. One of the biggest trade secret in the industry, and something you can bet would have made microsoft retaliate.
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