219 posts • joined 7 Oct 2011
@MS software going downhill
Has anyone but me noticed that the least compatible, flakiest, most prone to not interoperate, software on MS Windows systems is the software written by MS themselves? (Office comes to mind first)
As long as you have some kind of broadband
As long as there is some kind of broadband available that doesn't cost a fortune, what's the big deal? Oh, phone calls. Well, there's a bunch of alternatives for that, including the aforementioned femtocell. But don't most people switch their devices to wi-fi when they're home anyway for data use? I live near a river where there are no towers on once side of me at all. I typically get a 3G signal of limited strength at home... and it matters not at all to me. I can still use the phone with the signal I get, and wi-fi for data. My tablets don't even have a cellular connection. No available broadband or unreliable broadband--well, that could be a deal breaker for me, much more so than cellular.
When I was younger I picked my first apartment partially due to proximity to a decent local bar. But those were the days before cell phones were common.
Defeats the purpose
..and the spirit of devices like the Pi. Why would you pay $299 for one of these? You can get a full blown desktop for that much money. The only thing I can see it being even slightly useful for is to build a media center if you're starving for space. And a micro-ATX form factor would be my choice instead if I wanted to run Windows for some reason. IMHO the Pi and Linux capture the essence and freedom of the early days of computing and experimenting but with modern hardware and functionality, and no bloat.
@Moosh - Cheap Chinese phones
It only makes sense--since iPhones and other devices have been made in China since the beginning, you'd expect they've learned something about how to cheaply produce a good quality phone. In fact all of the Chinese goods are steadily improving. If you live in the USA, Harbor Freight tools is a good example--when they first opened, they had variable quality junk. Now I have no qualms with buying tools there. I think I realized how much things have changed when I broke a Craftsman screwdriver, then switched to a Chinese-made one to finish the job. (which didn't break)
This has been a continual progression--in the 50s and 60s, Japanese-made goods were viewed as junk and as a curiosity. Within a couple of decades their quality improved until they were the world's main supplier of decent electronics. Next a lot of silicon was made in Malaysia. Then Korea followed suit in exactly the same way as Japan. Now the trend is shifting to China. Makes you wonder what country will develop next into an industrial powerhouse.
Work around the system?
Even before this passed (at our company), we could usually call our carriers and get them to unlock a phone for us. Sometimes it took some creative liberties with the truth as to why we needed it, but we could usually get it done. Oddly, this is easiest with AT&T, though EVERY other type of transaction we made was difficult with them. And of course there are services all over the web that will let you pay to unlock a phone, albeit quasi-legally I guess.
But despite the outcry, I also agree with Ledswinger: Not only is it prohibitively expensive for the average Joe to afford a $600 smartphone without it being subsidized, a lot of people/families also like being able to have insurance coverage on their phones. Despite insurance being a rip-off for most people, it's useful for families that have a few teens that all 'must' have smartphones. People, especially young adults, are always dropping, abusing, getting phones stolen, or just plain prematurely wearing them out from constant use. It makes more sense to have insurance, even with a $50 or more deductible in this situation when you have a teen with a $600 smartphone.
@Political Correctness being a tool
When all you have is a hammer in your toolbox, everything starts to look like a nail.
More worrisome than any population breakdown in a company would be if this was really because of prejudices existing. But you can't tell from statistics if this was because of prejudices/discrimination, because of lack of interest from ethnic groups for certain jobs, or lack of qualifications. I agree that it looks damning that decent, higher-paying jobs seem to be populated by mostly one gender and ethnicity, but if it weren't for the perception that these are choice jobs, would there be outcry over this? Would anyone blink if a study was done showing that there aren't enough female lumberjacks or enough white people working in Indian restaurants, for example?
I want everyone to be treated fairly and honestly, with no bias or preference because of any factor except for actual qualifications and ability to do a job, and hopefully all of us feel this way. Everyone should have the same choices and opportunities available. In the USA, we've long suffered from forms of reverse discrimination called "affirmative action" and company diversity policies where ethnic groups are given preference just because the company wants to be seen as being "diverse" And in certain jobs you can be the highest-scoring candidate, yet not even be considered unless you a member of a minority group that may have scored far worse. For a while in certain jobs being white and male was poison to your chances of landing the job if more "diverse" applicants existed. Fortunately, reverse discrimination like this is becoming a thing of the past in the USA, albeit slowly. "Fake" diversity like this does nothing to promote equality in the long run and only feeds resentment.
Oh yes, I'm sure security will be MUCH better. With DHCP and other services being in "the cloud" (which btw is a term I've always detested anyway--if you had email on Prodigy in 1995, you were using the cloud), instead of Grandma's wireless being compromised or someone getting into her home network because no one changed the default password, now you have the opportunity for thousands of users to be compromised at once--and not even know about it unless the ISP is in a generous mood.
And revenue? What's to stop an ISP from deciding that for each additional IP address in your home, that you shouldn't pay another .50/month? (I know the article addressed this) Marketing? Now demographics on each attached device can be harvested via their MAC address, as well as much more detailed usage statistics. It's a dream for every ISP and a nightmare for every marginally-intelligent customer.
Too bad the quality of the app isn't set to rise
All the laid-off workers are grateful for his piety and humbleness...
Access to MS source code?
Sounds like it would just make it easier for China to spy on US, as well as to pirate the OS. I wouldn't give it to them either.
But while I am grateful to MS for the fact that while Windows continues to exist, I will always have an IT job, when I am home it's a relief to use Linux.
Looking forward to it
Hopefully they live up to the hype and aren't ridiculously expensive. I've always been a fan of AMD. Not just because they're the underdog, or a cheaper alternative to Intel, but because they seem to be a bit less shady as a company in their practices. And it's subjective, but AMD processors seem to "feel" faster when multitasking. I hope they got the embedded software right, as this is one way I could see that this could fail. (Think of the famous Pentium bug)
I'm sure they will blow Intel "Integrated HD graphics" out of the water, but re. Intel graphics (and Mythbusters results aside), you can't polish a turd. I'd love to see a comparo with real-world equipment with dedicated graphics cards.
I was going to go on a long tirade about this, but decided it wasn't worth it. I support both devices at work and have used both, and I find Apple's UI to be very lacking and both platforms to have problems.
I just prefer Android's UI, as it seems a lot of IT people do. And I appreciate the freedom of being able to access the FS and use an SD card, among other things. And frankly, Samsung's 5s makes all Apple phones I've used look and feel like poorly thought out toys.
All I can say is you and me both, brother
Though this behavior is indispensible at work if you are in an environment with "legacy" (to put it kindly) shop floor equipment. Every 6 months or so someone comes through our storage/testing area and has a big hissy fit about "5s" and how we must clean up. Then something used for production breaks and we delve into our crap pile and have it working again in an hour, for nothing, instead of a week later for $10K plus lost production costs.
Off topic, but getting really sick of their marketing popups
Yes, I'm a freetard using their free AV, and I still think it's fairly decent. (especially for free) But now that they've grown a bit, I get an endless parade of "special offers" along with the legitimate notifications. It used to be that "it just works", now "it just annoys". I have shortened the duration of the popups to only a second, which mitigates it, but it's still annoying.
The thing of it is, I don't think ANYONE's security offerings are worth paying much for these days. I will say that Avast at least isn't bloatware like Symantec's offerings.
Dell's offerings are better, I think
I'm not a huge fan of Dell, but having used HP and Dell products, supported them, and configured them, I'd have to say Dell's "Precision" lineup is better overall, better built, and less troublesome. Really the only thing to crow about with this HP is the 4GB video card, which apparently has some flaky drivers. Dell's battery life is much better. Even the more "entry level" M4800s have a faster processor and also include a numeric keypad. If you're going to take up that much space, it's stupid to not have one. And seriously, get a better dock. I'm not that familiar with HP's offerings, but the Dells have a much better available dock with 2xDVI, 2xDisplayport, eSATA, and even an old fashioned parallel port available.
As a side note, if I can play BD discs for free with VLC on Linux (albeit quasi-legally), I don't get why MS hasn't come to some arrangement yet. It's like when standard def DVDs came out and you couldn't play them on Windows either. BD has been out for quite a while now and the best that can be done is to use quirky 3rd-party software? It's especially stupid since it's always been possible to copy a disc fairly easily, but you have to jump through so many hoops to play one. Idiocy. The determined will always be able to pirate content.
Seems like there's a better cash crop...
I'm sure they could come up with a more "herbal" crop to maximize their profits than lettuce. As a side note, I wonder what the air quality is like in that room after years of being used to fab semiconductors that contain nasties like arsenic...
I read the title as "WWJD" or "What would Jobs do" (unfortunately, Apple seems to have no clue)
I'm sure the solid gold target will still be about the cheapest part of this experiment.
The icon says it all.
Do we really need more marketing? If anything, this turns me off on buying anything Samsung.
As an aside, I recently got an S5 and while it's a nice phone, the battery life and UI are both utterly dismal compared to my old Droid Razr Maxx.
If Mozilla didn't support this..
With the existing climate all that would be accomplished is that people would start abandoning Firefox to watch their precious DRM'd content on <shudder> IE. And Mozilla would find itself in the same situation Apple did with Flash--people whining and nothing really accomplished.
Where did the water go when they "flushed it"? (and I hope they used the setting for liquid waste and not solid when they flushed to save water-ha) Why, it probably went back into the lake or river from which the reservoir was filled. Then the reservoir was probably filled again from that very same lake or river.
Somehow the beer icon just seemed appopriate here when dealing with taking a wee.
The day the music died...
I understand why Mozilla is doing this and have no problem with it. My problem is with DRM in general. The day DRM is finally abolished will be a great day of celebration. With DRM, there is no fair use of content and the only folks that benefit are the huge labels, not the little guy.
And why use Youtube as an example? There are dozens of free Youtube downloaders that get the job done. And re. DRM and music, this is why Amazon continues to get my business for music downloads. For your very reasonable price you get (usually) a decent quality, unencumbered .mp3 that can be downloaded as many times as you want from any device you want.
Seems fairly pointless...
You could pick your components and build a much better PC than this for the price. True, it might not be as compact, but it likely won't be as noisy or apparently prone to cook itself either.
Are we so space-conscious that we can't find a spot for a standard micro-ATX case somewhere? It seems the whole point of this is to run SteamOS and yet it's not specced out to do so. And only 4 USB ports on a modern machine is a bit scant IMHO.
Not that thrilling...
My Android phone has far better specs and can be connected to an external monitor. Not sure why anyone would really want one.
We don't know. Let's just hope that some mega being has our simulation plugged into a decent UPS or whatever the meta equivalent is.
Read Greg Egan's "Permutation City"
Perhaps I'm a simpleton..
..but Microsoft's X-Box is one of the most consistently profitable divisions they have. Not to mention one of the only divisions that hasn't consistently pissed off their customers and that shows true innovation while the rest of the company blunders about reinventing the wheel in different shapes. Unless the reason to spin this off is some financial sleight of hand, it seems silly to move it out of the fold when it's one of their bigger producers.
I applaud that Netflix has decided to do what is best for their customers. (maybe not if they raise their rates to cover it) But cable companies charging for access to Netflix and charging Netflix for traffic on their network is like the gas company deciding to impose a tarrif if I cook on a certain brand of stove or the my electricity provider charging me more if I use GE light bulbs. Disgusting greed. I often think the FCC does more harm than good, but indeed this would be a good place for them to show some might.
George W. Bush would have to be the "Hey, look at this neat cup holder!" president.
When we have natural gas fuel cells, then they will be a viable technology for everyone.
How robust though?
How long will the tape stand up to being archived (one of our main uses for tape), and how resistant is it to damage? It seems to me that if you have that kind of data density, that the tiniest hiccup by the tape transport machinery could cause you to lose a LOT of your backup really quickly, while having it spread out a bit more, the damage would be confined to less files/data.
IMHO, plan on recording data you care about at least twice. This is my complaint with the emerging >8TB HDDs too---that's a quick way to easily lose a lot of data on one unit. Plan on using two at least for reliability.
Not that difficult
I agree. I have floppies from 1980 and they are still readable with no problem on my ancient Commodore drives. (which themselves run well and have never had cleaning or maintenance) Only one out of a dozen or so I have has ever given any trouble and it is still partially readable.
I understand the caution in recovering the data, as it is (somewhat) a cultural treasure, but they make it sound like the restoration of the Mona Lisa, when (mostly) all that needed to be done was to purchase an Amiga off ebay and have someone familiar with the machine's command structure go to work.
Still, very cool, and IMHO both the artist and the Amiga are cultural treasures. I've always thought that if Jack Tramiel wasn't such a megalomaniac and asshole in general that we'd all be using "Commodore Format" PCs instead of "IBM Format."
If that's not a typo...
1GB of RAM and only 16GB of storage is pretty pathetic for a modern smartphone. You have a quad-core device with just a gig? Really? I understand it's kind of purpose-built, but RAM is cheap and surely a bit more could be crammed in there. A bit disappointing and it will be noticed in the phone's performance I'm sure, if it's true.
Unfortunately this is a big deal...
Even if you can somehow wake the device and use it with the faulty button, these devices need to be reset quite often to work right. I work for a company where we have hundreds of these things.
I think the genius bar works just like any other bar. After a few drinks people feel like geniuses, charming, bulletproof, etc., while the truth is far from it. Only at Apple's version a few pints could only improve them.
I'll buy one of these about the same time I buy a bottle of booze that automatically cuts me off.
Re: time in general
Nothing new about this if you've ever read any science fiction. Many stories of "the knowledge of the ancestors" or "We've forgotten how to maintain the machines", or "The ancients accomplished great things" I just didn't think we'd be getting there under 40 years from some of the greatest accomplishments of mankind.
Seems pretty pointless in its current state of development
I have a couple of year old Motorola Droid Razr "Maxx" I've traveled with it a lot. It is not a replacement for my laptop, no do I want it to be. But with the simple addition of an HDMI cable I can plug it into a hotel TV or monitor and use it to watch video, as a fair computing device with "Webtop", and if I bring my mini Bluetooth keyboard I can actually use it as a pretty fair netbook. This is more or less what Motorola intended with its under developed "Atrix" dock system, though I never bothered to buy it. It's not the fastest processor in the world--I bought it more for durability and battery life, but it sounds no less powerful than Dell's offering. Oh, and it's a 4G phone, GPS receiver, etc. that doesn't require any finagling to power it up.
The point I'm trying to make here is that I see little point for the Dell device. Most of the functionality of the dell unit with the exception of the remote admin capability was included in my cell phone as an afterthought.
And in an environment where the Dell device would maybe be a useful alternative to something like embedded XP or another OS, the very nature of these locales (factory floor, call center, etc.) means that someone so inclined can just pocket the device and walk away with it. So again, I fail to really see a "killer app" for it. It's not like desktop PCs aren't cheap and plentiful, and there's a lot better mobile devices.
Much ado over little?
Just to establish a few things: I am a straight man, though actually possibly a bit metrosexual in some ways. I am probably the least homophobic person you will ever meet, and I've worked with many gay people over the years. I don't currently have any gay friends, though not because I've shunned them. I have no fears that any gay person will harm a child or some other idiocy or "come on" to me. Actually I'd be flattered to meet most gay mens' standards, and in the right mood and enough alcohol, might even be open to experimentation, who knows... I have no problem with anyone marrying anyone they want, and like the majority of IT folks that I've met, and people that IMHO have their intelligence on the desirable side of the bell curve, I have a live and let live philosophy--anyone can do anything they want as long as it's consentual and not interfering with others' life choices.
I give Eich kudos for doing what he perceived as the right thing and stepping down. But it's not like the guy launched an anti-gay campaign or tirade. He donated what to him is likely pocket change to an admittedly backwards-thinking reactionary cause. Does he regret it? Who knows. He didn't apologize for it. His money could have been much better spent for sure even if he donated to the Flat Earth foundation. The outcry over this is amazing though. I wonder if he couldn't have just apologized, explained his decision publically, recanted, and donated more money to a more liberal cause, and been forgiven. It would have been kind of a wishy-washy thing to do, but probably would have kept him at the helm of Mozilla, and made him no worse than pretty much every politician that has drawn a breath on this planet.
More insidious though is if he decided to leave Mozilla because he was secretly disgusted by how "pro-gay" they all were and couldn't stand to be at an organization so antithetical to his beliefs. If so, good riddance for sure, though still props for not remaining on and slowly trying to subvert the tolerant spirit at that company.
"Safety does not sell"
True that... marketing sells. I don't know if they are aired in the UK, but in the US we have these patronizing, whiny, reedy, preachy "They Lived" Subaru commercials where a hideous wreck is shown and various tow truck drivers, cops, etc. say "They Lived" (by the look of the wreck, they might be vegetables, but they lived I guess) Combine this with another similar one where some hipster-ish douche is seen taking part of his wrecked Subaru as a souvenier--"My Subaru saved my life"
Of course this in no way actually means that Subarus are any more or less safe than any other vehicle, but it does seem to mean that perceived safety does sell cars, or at least high-dollar marketing campaigns do.
If you want CD burning software...
Imgburn is free and the best I've found.
How about the Sysinternals suite?
For troubleshooting, you can't beat the sysinternals utilities. Minitool Partition Wizard may be pretty useful too, so may "Rescatux"
What I don't understand is why bother?
There are a lot of portable drives on the market, some bigger, some just as fast. Unless I'm missing something here, this is nothing that special. Why bother devoting an article to it? It's just a rather boring mechanical drive in a not so special case with a couple of slightly interesting interface choices. So what?
Re: I am insipred
I used to have an IBM "clicky" keyboard that had a switch on the bottom so you could choose "PC" or "XT" compatibility.
I still maintain that if Jack Tramiel wasn't such a greedy ego and megalomaniac, that we'd be using "Commodore" format instead of IBM format PCs, and possibly even Apple would be a footnote...
So what they're saying is that it will approach the efficiency and speed of gaming on Linux? And/or that they're willing to abandon Windows 7 users already, or just PC gamers in general?
These have been my experiences wtih Mint as well. In fact, if they have to pay anything for Win7 and Office, they'd be better off scrapping MS in favor of free, friendly Mint (or Ubuntu) Linux is a bit more thrifty with internet connections to, IMHO, as you're not constanty updating AV and you don't have 50 DRM'd applications phoning home to make sure you haven't pirated them since you used them yesterday.
Most of the old apps will likely run under Wine, and there are tons of educational apps for free on the Linux software repositories.
The only benefit to Win7 for them as I see it is if it was free and if they choose to use WAIK to deploy to their PCs.
Instead of sneakernet..
Since these PCs have to be on a local LAN at least, designate one of the better ones as a "server" and cache the apps you need to install on it. (Heck, you could even use the WAIK to deploy Windows from it if you upgrade it first) Use this PC temporarily as a file server and install from it instead of mucking around with CDs or flash drives. Even at 100Mb/s, installing from LAN will be faster than a CD usually.
Burn in even in LCDs
Yep, seen it too. We have a couple of 5+ yo LCDs with the image of our machine controller software permanently etched into the screen--you can even read text. Not as bad as their CRT predecessors, which were burnt so badly you could even read the etched text with the power off and the screen dark.
Were there no picnic tables available?
As a side note, I'll bet no one messes with him in prison. Anyone that willingly will have sex with a pit bull will likely not be someone's bitch...
As I like to point out to people...
If you had email on AOL in 1996, you were using "the cloud". What's next, "XXtreme Cloud"? I do not understand the fascination for dumping responsibility for data and services with another partner instead of doing them in house if you have the capacity. Is it easier? Somewhat. Is it more reliable and secure? Not likely.
Our company inked a deal in blood with Microsoft for mail and hosting services some time ago. I have to say that my job has never been less threatened---since MS took it over, we've had more problems, slowdowns, and outages than the last 5 years put together.
Actually newcomers might be happier trying Linux Mint. Built on Ubuntu and including codecs, media players (that actually work right), and accessories right from the beginning, Mint "Just works" Setup is painless and the OS has a lot more goodies available at first launch than Ubuntu and a familiar looking desktop for XP emigrees. The default color scheme is a lot less vomit inspiring than Ubuntu's too.
I have to say I like this distro more than any other I've tried in a long time.
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