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* Posts by Dave 126

3885 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

'SHUT THE F**K UP!' The moment Linus Torvalds ruined a dev's year

Dave 126
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Re: Totally reasonable outburst...

My first dip my toes in the Linux waters was installing Mint on an ancient ThinkPad with a mate, for shits and giggles... til that day, I had never even heard of SUDO before. We installed Mint fairly quickly, but getting audio to work took the rest of the afternoon, though to be fair we were complete novices and the internet suggested that model of ThinkPad had slightly esoteric audio hardware.

I'm normally a Windows user, and I take a fairly dim view of its audio system as well. Trying to use ASIO is a PITA cos WSM keeps jumping in, trying to change the default MIDI device requires faffing around in the registry... I only mess around with audio applications for fun; if I had to do it seriously, I would get a Mac without question.

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Dave 126
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Re: Torvalds is the greatest manager of them all

>not allowed to upset MS by installing Linux on desktops - YET.

Before that happens, common Linux apps (music players, text editors, image editors etc) need to be given names that hint at their function. I enjoy word games based, but not everybody does.

The other major factor for the bloke on the street (whilst he is at his desk) is support for the software he already knows... this is happening in a number of ways, including:

-1st party support for Linux (ie Valve looking at Linux as a gaming platform), many games already straddle more platforms than commercial productivity applications (eg Win, Mac, Xbox, PS3, Wii) so are developed with this in mind.

-Opensource alternatives to Win/Mac software (eg LibreOffice, GIMP),

-Browser or cloud-based software being OS agnostic (eg, Google Docs, CAD at the other end of the scale -driven by convenience of being able to rent compute time as required, and the need to collaborate with colleagues, suppliers and clients)

-WINE

-VMs - though these still need a licence, and for the novice some hand-holding, perhaps to make the VM invisible to them

It might be that Linux only becomes a main-stream OS choice when the choice of one OS over another becomes unimportant.

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Dave 126
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Re: Some are just screamers....

Kelvin McKenzie was well known for his bollockings when editor of the Sun... one hack, after being subjected to a screaming rant for ten minutes asked "Are you going to bollock me now?" and McKenzie creased up in laughter.

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Dave 126
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And many accounts suggest Steve Jobs was more likely to rage at very well-paid VPs, but took a different approach with junior employees. Didn't the engineer who left the prototype phone in a bar keep his job?

It reminds me in a scene of The Thick Of It, where Malcolm's bulldog Jamie concludes a rant at a minister (using violent sexual imagery) then nearly bumps into a cleaning lady- to whom he courteously apologises to.

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Canadian astronaut warns William Shatner of life on Earth

Dave 126
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Re: "...damped by gravity..." ???

>Strings vibrate initially in a plane, but then the plane rotates.

I was under the impression that silicon gyroscopes (tiny vibrating rods) work on the principle that the plane of vibration doesn't change just because its mounting point does... as shown by Foucault (of pendulum fame) by placing a metal bar in the jaws of a lathe, twatting the rod with a hammer, and then rotating that lathe by hand- he observed that the plane of the rod's vibration stays the same relative to the floor, not the jaw of the lathe... at least for short durations over which effects of the Earth's rotation were too small to observe.

This might help, though it more concerned with oscillations and harmonic systems than it is about instrument-specific causes of damping:

The Physics of Musical Instruments (1991) By Neville Horner Fletcher, Thomas Dean Rossing

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9CRSRYQlRLkC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

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Boffins create quantum gas with temperature BELOW absolute zero

Dave 126
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Re: It all depends on how you define temperature

>Nice trick, but it's mostly a creative use of scientific language to sell some elaborate experiments to the broader public.

I think you've concisely defined New Scientist's MO. Good work, sir!

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Dave 126
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Re: Sci Am had a good article on this 35 years ago

Issues of Scientific American have a page in which they reproduce articles from 25, 50, and 75 years ago... so if you want to read the article mentioned above, all you have is wait until 2028 and buy a copy.

Glad to be of service!

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Satnav-murdering Google slips its Maps into car dashboards

Dave 126
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Re: What we really need is an API into the car sensors

Try some searches around "CAN bus wheel speed"....

http://www.eng.auburn.edu/users/brodedj/7970/WheelSpeed.pdf

to get you started. Also, it is discussed on a few sites.

Hard n softwares may be here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAN_bus_monitor

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Dave 126
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Re: Integrated satnavs are way better

>What a cretin.

If the inertial (or whatever you call wheel speed differential etc) system is used in conjunction with built-in maps, cumulative errors can be drastically reduced.

And he didn't say 'just a speedo'; the car's CAN bus will happily tell any module information about each wheel.

His point that a GPS navigation system integrated with the cars drivetrain control can be superior to a plain GPS unit still stands... at the very simplest, the car will already know where it is when started up, allowing a quicker fix on satellites (as long as you haven't been towed, washed down the river etc)

Even without this smartness, Honda (or was it Toyota?) made a intertial navigation system in the eighties, using a microfiche-like system for map storage.

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Dave 126
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Re: Hmmm. Android!

>incar entertainment system for the kids on long journeys.

@Simon Round

Hmm, wonder if the tablet's accelerometers can be used to augment the video, so as to reduce the car sickness that can result if the brain receives different clues from the eyes and inner-ears! Kinda like the Optical Image Stabilisation used in cameras, but applied to output image instead of a sensor.

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Dave 126
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Re: Hmmm. Android!

>Considering how cheap android tablets are these days then it should not add more than couple of hundred quid to >the car price.

That might be optomistic! Ford (UK) currently charge £250 for a sodding DAB radio to be fitted as an extra, for example. A tablet-based "entertainment package" is likely to much more. Still, there is little in what you have outlined that can't be achieved by the car-owner themselves, or by an independent car stereo installer if you really want a neat job of it.

Still, on the plus side, hopefully enough cars will come to have 3G/4G / Wi-Fi to make DAB redundant.

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Bringing Iron Man to life: Exoskeletons, armour and jet packs

Dave 126
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Re: batteries won't be an issue

>I belive a Garfield solution to how to operate a full-size food-stuffed fridge when on the outing with Jon was simple - take the cord, 300 miles of.

Added advantage: enemies need physical access to the cable if they want to jam/overide communications with the device.

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Dave 126
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> why didn't they have a strong robot to do the lifting?

"Humans are cheaper" is a possible answer in sympathy with the distopian tone of the film. Aliens might have a few plot holes (Why does Burke want Ripley to come along, when she is opposed to his aim of bringing back 'samples'?) but they are very easy to over look compared to those in Prometheus (that movie is little BUT plot holes. A shame, because the bits with David studying Peter O'Toole's Lawrence of Arabia ("a man serving two masters") are superb... the DVD release needs an 'anti-directors cut')

Guilty pleasure: Starship Troopers 3, with battle-suits. It revives the tongue-in-cheek attitude of the first film, and the ropey special effects are a hoot. Exploding heads, nudity, far-right Christianity replacing fascism... a kiss set against the backdrop of a planet exploding... what's not to like?!

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Dave 126
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If the object is to allow a soldier to cover large distances quickly, then those designs that take their inspiration from kangaroos is the way to go, much like the 'Blade-runner' amputee athletes. The kinetic energy is stored in the spring (as it is in the tendons of kangaroos), and released again, so is a very energy efficient way of travelling, though not suitable for all terrains and hardly stealthy.

I believe the Soviets experimented with a power-assisted version (with combustion-powered cylinders) that allowed soldiers to take strides ten yards long.

If you want to your soldier to carry heavy equipment/supplies into hostile territory, then why burden the soldier with it and a HULC system? It's better to have a robotic mule carry the gear independently. Or, as was done in Burma in WW2, a real mule can be parachuted in.

(A local farmer did this, and the next day Japan surrendered... nothing to do with an A-bomb at all, just the threat of Jasper on a donkey. Later on, when posted as a guard in the gardens of the Imperial Palace, the Emperor, under house arrest, politely approached him for a light... "You can fuck off" he responded)

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Dave 126
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Re: Cap's shield is pretty tame.

>child of some mystic land of Merlinian magic

What amuses me is that in some of the Marvel mythos, wormholes that connect to different universes are situated in... Gloucestershire. And in Buffy the Vampire slayer series, one of the women goes on a witch training course in... Gloucestershire.

Which is of course nonsense. Anyone who has stood on the edge of the escarpment looking West over the horseshoe bend of the Severn knows that Gloucestershire is the Shires, the Forest of Dean is Mirkwood, and Wales is Mordor.

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Dave 126
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Re: Batttery on the HULC goes flat? One hour??

>True but I'd suspect that you can't reverse engineer it in a cave with a box of scraps.

B. A. Baracus could.

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Dave 126
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Re: Batttery on the HULC goes flat? One hour??

Sgt Apone: I don't know, is there anything you can do?

Lt Ripley: I can drive that loader. I've got a Class Two rating.

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Up your wormhole: Star Trek Deep Space 9 turns 20

Dave 126
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Yeah, Star Trek never fully uses their tech for hedonism like the citizens of the Culture... using the transporter to exchange gasses in your lungs whilst you bath in a zero-G sphere of oil, for example. Although both Star Trek and Bank's feature tech-enhanced extreme sports (orbital sky-diving and lava-flow rafting, for example).

A habitat's AI's appeal to a party guest "Please tell the ambassador that he is talking into a broach" (Look to Windward) seems a gentle dig at TNG's communicator.

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Dave 126
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Re: More than a B5 Ripoff

>Don't forget the "The graphics for Babylon 5 were done on an Amiga!!!!!!" frothing-mouthed tedium

I never realised that TNG's Wes Crusher (Wil Wheaton) worked for the makers of Video Toaster.

I had cause to remember another Video Toaster project, SeaQuest DSV the other day- I went to the cinema and ASUS have an advertisment in which Megan Fox talks to a dolphin (IT angle?!). Maybe it was on heroin like its fellow cetacean in Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic"

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Dave 126
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Re: Trek downhill since then

Probably a consequence of my teenage years, but whilst I kept up with the few few series of TNG, I was losing interest by the time DS9 and Voyager turned up. Thank you to the article for making the case for DS9.

I liked the visuals of Babylon 5 more, and approved of the way they had life-forms that were neither humanoid or gas clouds, but still I didn't really keep up with it for some reason. Maybe it because of of the cast fell into the 'uncanny valley' of looking like Bruce Willis (similarly, I don't do FireFly because that bloke is just trying too hard to be Han Solo. He isn't. He can't be). I do remember an episode that featured the magicians Penn and Teller, though!

I wouldn't engage with a Sci-Fi TV show again until Battlestar Gallactica, whose submarine movie-like visual style answered my unease with the clean, well-lit look of TNG. Even on some alien ship, TNG actors were too well lit.

I wouldn't mind watching a series that looked like The Fifth Element, a colourful sprawling mass of humanity, mutants and aliens, akin to Megacity One in 2000AD. Dredd might not make it back for a second movie, but there is a possibility he will return for a TV series, though I can't see them having the budget to do MegaCity One with proper anarchic abandon.

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Review: Lego Lord of the Rings game

Dave 126
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Re: Good game

It would appear it means "Free [to take with you and use with a tablet/phone, or Mac/PC]", judging from SteelSeries' website... it quite a compact looking thing.

There have been a fair few comments on other threads about the need for a product like this if smartphones are to continue denting dedicated portable gaming machines, but the price seems a bit steep. People who like bodging their own solutions are already using a Sony PS3 controller with 3rd party software for Android / PC gaming.

I've only heard of SteelSeries before in relation to their gaming mice... they seem fairly well thought of by reviewers, but gaming mice aren't things I know much about.

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Microsoft snaps up Slingbox mastermind's home control biz for Xbox

Dave 126
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Re: MS Media Center

>I guess you've not seen the article elsewhere on the site today about how the MSMC UK EPG stopped working a few days ago (and resulting comments on how there are lots of alternatives to MSMC, many of which don't involve any MS content at all)

I had read it. The point still stands.

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Dave 126
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>What happens if you don't want to buy a Windows Phone?

MS released an app for Android, iOS and WinPho to integrate with the XBOX. Sony's PS3 equivalent requires a PSP or PS Vita. I see you have looked deeply into this before commenting.

>What happens if MS give up on the project after 5 years or the next best thing comes along?

Look at how long MS Media Centre has been kept going, despite it not achieving mass popularity. It's getting on for tens years now.

>What happens if your Xbox gets an RRoD?

Oh, get over. Look at the causes of that seven year-old fault and tell someone that they still apply. The mere fact that XBOXs don't any longer sound like Harrier Jump Jets should give you a clue that Moore's Law is in effect.

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Ubuntu for smartphones aims to replace today's mobes, laptops

Dave 126
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@Mark

"Dominate" is a little ambiguous. It could refer to volume, as you take it to be, or it could at a stretch refer to profit.

If one were talking about phone sales, you could say Samsung and Nokia dominate the phone market.

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Dave 126
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Re: Ubuntu = FAIL

Yeah, after deleting my Ubuntu partition in order to expand my Windows partition, Window wouldn't boot. No great stress, since there was another Win7 machine in the building, and I just got it to burn a repair disk. No worries.

It wasn't Ubuntu's fault, it was my mistake. But hey, that's how I learn.

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Dave 126
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Re: Nice try, probably no cigar

Yeah, I re-read the article looking foe mention of that, but couldn't see it. If an Ubuntu phone could pretend to be an Android phone, then some people would buy it- or at least not reject it if their company hands it out to them. Technically, how difficult would it be to have this running smoothly?

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Hey, Apple and Google: Stop trying to wolf the whole mobile pie

Dave 126
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Out of interest, which large-tablet apps are these that aren't available on Android? (Not disagreeing, genuinely curious what apps still need to be written.)

@Mark .

Music creation apps. Though the devs of such software are getting started Android versions now that Jelly Bean has reduced the latency considerably over previous versions. I don't know if this is what HandleOfGod had in mind.

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Dave 126
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>"the Android operating system that is popular but not nearly as good as Apple's iOS" Everyone is entitled to an >opinion

Yeah, it depends on how you use and what you use it for. I'm happy with my Android phone, but I upgraded from a featurephone fairly late in the game. Apple did make a smart move with iOS from the get-go, by implementing MIDI and with a low enough latency to allow it to be useful (Android has only caught up on this front with Jelly Bean, and developers of music creation software are expressing an interest). It is a niche feature, but one that sits well with another niche market that has traditionally liked Apple: musicians. Being cynical, it is smart move to cater to musicians, when the other side of your business is selling their work.

Here is an example of someone who gets full use out of his iPhone for his purposes, using its accelerometers as MIDI controllers in conjunction some hardware (distantly based, I think, on a dissected MIDI Clarinet) he has open-sourced on Thingiverse: http://onyx-ashanti.com/

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MEGAGRAPH: 1983's UK home computer chart toppers

Dave 126
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Re: Was I the only one...

There were a few MSX machines made by different companies - it was a standard. The first Metal Gear game by Konami was for the MSX2 platform

In the image below, from the 1983 Hamley's catalogue, the bottom right machine is a Sord M5 Computer, fairly similar to MSX spec:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=286058214747254&set=a.286052674747808.73189.273368722682870&type=3&theater

The Commodore Vic 20 is probably the more famous machine to work with both tapes and cartridges.

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Dave 126
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Re: hard to read

I have a 1983 Hamley's toyshop catalogue floating around... [performs quick search to see if someone else has gone to the effort of scanning it in... and Bingo! Thanks to be to that person]

Here it is:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.286052674747808.73189.273368722682870&type=1

The games consoles are near the bottom of the page, click a thumbnail for a larger picture. What I got from it was the how much the dedicated chess-playing boards were compared to the more general gaming machines.

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Thunderbolt interface strikes YOUR PC: What's the damage?

Dave 126
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Re: Thunderbolt display support

>Thanks, I'll read that as meaning we'll need Thunderbolt 2.0 or HTML 2.0 to handle high definition displays in >practical situations.

I think we might be at crossed purposes here. Thunderbolt is an extension of of your PCIe bus that happens, in its most common incarnation, to use the same physical connector as Displayport- a standard for connecting displays. Thunderbolt isn't a standard for connecting displays in itself, but it allows the Displayport signal to passed along to the display device. It can have an external GPU behave as if it were in your computer.

You didn't mention why your wanted to drive your 4K Cinema Ultra at twice its native refresh rate, either. You have a bootleg copy of The Hobbit (3D, 48fps), perhaps? To achieve the standard, either one Displayport cable or two HDMI cables will do the job, according to the manufacturers of such displays.

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Dave 126
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Re: Thunderbolt display support

You would need to look at the Displayport specs, not Thunderbolt. Displayport has a bandwidth of 17Gbit/s, and 3840 × 2160 × 30 bpp @ 60 Hz is 16Gbit/s.... so 120Hz would be a no no. I'm sure that when you come to buy an 4K Ultra display, the vendor will be only too happy to tell you what you need, as Sharp do for their upcoming display:

" DisplayPort (Multi-Stream Transport) supports up to 3,840 × 2,160 resolution at a 60p frame rate; HDMI port can support up to 3,840 × 2,160 resolution at a 30p frame rate (60p is supported with two cables)."

-http://www.sharp-world.com/corporate/news/121128.html

As a workaround the Thunderbolt could happily drive an external GPU for this beastly monitor of which you speak.

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Dave 126
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Re: USB 2.0

Also I don't remember seeing a laptop other than a mac that has a thunderbolt port.

No, nor me other than that very expensive Vaio Z ultraportable that has a docking station with a discrete GPU. Curiously, Sony use a physical USB port for the Thunderbolt.

>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Thunderbolt-compatible_devices#Laptop_Computers

I do hope it catches on, since anything your laptop is missing can be provided for back at the desk; A standard docking solution for all machines. That said, most of us don't need to shunt files around that quickly, and those of us who need discrete GPUs in our laptops, well, have them in our laptops.

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It's JUST possible, but Apple MIGHT not make an iWatch in 2013

Dave 126
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Re: Chaging you watch every day.

I was impressed when I saw my mate's blackberry do that on its dock. A few years later and my Xperia seems to have picked up the idea, but using a combination of [accessory]+[optional time period] to trigger that dim clock behaviour- or some other action. i haven't tried Tasker, though, but i get the idea it does all sorts of things like that.

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Dave 126
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Re: Android's BEEN there DONE... Ooops DOING that!!

Er, no one said that similar products don't already exist... from Sony's efforts to various crowd-funded devices. The do leave room for improvement, though. Take the Sony, for example... you have to tap it in order to read the time- just like those 1970s LED watches.

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Dave 126
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Re: apple watch in stylish barcode finish with rfid included to proudly display your number

No more Robert Anton Wilson for this man!

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Dave 126
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Re: Errm, it's already been done..

True, but the Sony Liveview 2 still leaves room for improvement. It's still at the 'suitable for first adopters and gadget freaks' stage.

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Dave 126
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Hiya Dana- where do you live, very very roughly? Just curious if one's country has a bearing on wristwatch use. Watches are still pretty popular here in the UK, though not universal- it's far easier to pull at your sleeve than it is to fumble in your pocket!

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Dave 126
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Re: Called me old fashioned

Taste... more people commented positively about a chunky stainless steel analogue G-Shock I wore than they do about a slimmer, rather charming 1969 Omega Chronostop with the original mesh bracelet (that my dad bought in a pub in 1970) I wear. Oh well.

Curiously, on website forums in the past, I have read comments like "Who wears a watch these days?" from people who have gone to identify themselves as living in the USA, whereas European commentards were more supportive of wristwatches. Anecdotal, I know... though analysis of crowd photographs might give something more resembling 'hard data'.

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Making MACH 1: Can we build a cranial computer today?

Dave 126
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Re: Internal vs External vs ExtraTerrestrial

Marvin Minsky (made the first head-mounted display, neural net and confocal microscope, is name-checked in 2001: Space Odyssey, lauded by Asimov as well) co-wrote a novel with Harry Harrison (The Stainless Steel Rat, nuff said) about integrating a neural net with someone's brain, called The Turing Option. It is framed as a thriller, but the AI integrates itself with the protagonist's brain because he has suffered a traumatic bullet-related head injury.

It's alright. Might seem a tad dated now. There again, who am I to judge?

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Dave 126
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Re: Much as I adore the early 2000AD stuff ..

Well, it seems that a lot of recent progress in prosthetics is due to war... not for preparing soldiers to enter it, but rather to help them get on with their lives afterwards.

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Dave 126
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Re: Coat in advance

And you would prefer something to screwed into your skull, as opposed to glued to it, why?

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Dave 126
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Re: Two words

>...and leaves us in the rather odd position of having to be quiet because a colleague is deaf...

I've heard that this is not uncommon. A retired doctor with hearing aids drinks in our beer garden, and he is more put off by background noise than us who are lucky enough to still have reasonable hearing. He is probably one of those who complain to Radio 4 about placing background music behind spoken-word content (screw DAB: Roll on 'radio' over IP, and the BBC can easily output the raw spoken-word output without music for those who want it)

I did read in New Scientist that Charles Babbage started to loose his hearing, and became overly sensitive to street musicians and buskers.... he campaigned against them, so in return they made a point of parading up and down outside his house.

I'm dyspraxic, and with it comes sensitivity to noise... I do appear to have a lower tolerance to sodcasting than my more mellow peers. FFS kiddies, either buy some headphones or get a ghettoblaster so we can all hear it. The landlord who made our local legendary sadly passed away a few years back... he was the sort to dunk phones in peoples pints, and "tell all the lager drinkers to f^&k-off and we'll all have ourselves a lovely little lock-in".

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Dave 126
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Re: Two words

Do they work better if implanted before the brain is fully mature?

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Dave 126
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Re: Predicitive?

Ah, I've thanked you for recommended 'A Logic Named Joe' before... it pre-dates Clarke's Dial F for Frankenstein by a fair few years.

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Dave 126
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Re: Memory is the second thing to go

There has been some progress in the interface:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochlear_implant

But it is very true that our brains store information in a very non-linear way.

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Dave 126
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Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm (1932) featured video phones. The 1995 adaptation omitted them, but it did feature Kate Beckinsale in a tweed skirt instead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_Comfort_Farm#Futurism

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Dave 126
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Re: Star trek's communicator?

>(and it had rounded corners)

Not in Bob McCall's concept art it didn't. In the film it is hard if the top corners were rounded (they sit against a desk of the same colour) but the lower corners, under what look like hard buttons, weren't rounded. Tch, silly Kubrick not knowing IBM would sell their consumer division to Lenovo, and that Pan Am would go belly-up...

In one of Iain M Bank's Culture novels, the habitat's AI requests that a message be passed on: "Sorry to trouble you, but you're closest... would you kindly inform the ambassador that he is speaking into his broach?". A gentle dig at the Star Trek: NG communicator, perhaps?

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Dave 126
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Whitelist doesn't work if the entities on it are 'turned' by the enemy. Just sayin'. If Mission Impossible has taught me anything etc etc

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What's THAT, you say? Apple MIGHT be making a NEW iPHONE, iOS?

Dave 126
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Re: Apple PR keeping common-or-garden cell phone in the media

>I would have thought El Reg would have had something better to do than giving free publicity to Apple.who micro->manages almost everything that 'leaks' out.

-Surely every company that wishes to maximise profits (read: all of them) should put as much care into its public perception? I went to the cinema last night and saw an ASUS advertisement featuring Megan Fox talking to dolphins... WTF?

>Bet the purchasers of V5/iOS6 feel real happy that their recent purchases are now depreciating. Obviously >Apply doesn't give a bucket of spit about it's customers.

-I'm pretty sure that people who buy MK.V of a successful product line know that there will be a MK.VI at some point. Sorry, but as long as I have been buying computers, a faster model has always been available for less a few months after I've stumped up my cash. How is this different? A product's ability to do the job for which it was sold remains unaffected just because a later model is released.

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