Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

20 Things They Don't Want You to Know

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the they're-seekrit dept.

Technology 403

theodp writes "PC World spills the beans about a bunch of things technology companies would rather you didn't know, including the lowdown on exploiting Windows' bad security, unlocking cell phones, using an IPod to move music and useless specs." Nothing groundbreaking, but might be a good primer for the non-techie in your life.

cancel ×

403 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

LOL POST LOL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525286)

LOL POST LOL

Pretty interesting (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525291)

Overall I believe that most of us know about this information but, it is still a good read.

Re:Pretty interesting (1, Funny)

Loconut1389 (455297) | about 9 years ago | (#13525309)

Original poster mentioned it would be a good intro for a non-techie person. I'd say you're restating the obvious in hopes of a first post.

Know anyone who uses MSN Messenger? (3, Insightful)

ReformedExCon (897248) | about 9 years ago | (#13525300)

"Know anyone who uses Windows Messenger as their instant messaging client? Me neither."

That's strange, because I don't know anyone who doesn't. Except for a new guy who uses Trillian, but he'll come around when he gets tired of fighting the firewall.

PC World seems to be in a kind of limbo. It's not technical enough for anyone serious about computers, and it's way over the head of anyone who isn't familiar with computers. I guess that makes it prime reading material for CIOs.

But seriously folks. I was at the bookstore the other day and picked up a Computer Shopper. When did this new thin format happen? What happened to 500 pages of advertisements?

I wonder why Slashdot never gets any links to Dr. Dobbs Journal.

Re:Know anyone who uses MSN Messenger? (1)

Karaman (873136) | about 9 years ago | (#13525315)

at least 30 people at my office use it to chat with wives and girlfriends! And we also use corporate ICQ to chat about work!

Re:Know anyone who uses MSN Messenger? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525319)

Windows Messenger != MSN Messenger.

Re:Know anyone who uses MSN Messenger? (2, Interesting)

Darkon (206829) | about 9 years ago | (#13525450)


Windows Messenger is sometimes worth keeping because you can run it and MSN Messenger simultaneously - handy if you have two MSN accounts.

Re:Know anyone who uses MSN Messenger? (0)

Agret (752467) | about 9 years ago | (#13525490)

What's your point? It uses the same services and removes all the crap that MSN tries to shove down your throat i.e. Advertisements everywhere, custom emoticons, winks, nudges, backgrounds, all the useless shit you'll never need. However it might be better if it had the display pic feature implemented, also custom statuses are a must although you could always use Plus! for those.

Re:Know anyone who uses MSN Messenger? (1)

Westley (99238) | about 9 years ago | (#13525499)

The point is that the original poster is almost certainly wrong - chances are they know very few people who don't use MSN Messenger, but that's not the same as Windows Messenger, which is what the article was talking about.

Re:Know anyone who uses MSN Messenger? (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | about 9 years ago | (#13525322)

I suppose it depends on who you know, I know quite a lot of techie people who don't use it, including myself.

In general, blanket statements don't work (perhaps including this one).

As for Trillian, last I knew, it was a multi-protocol messenger that could use AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, etc? As a caveat, I don't recall it supporting MS Messenger, so I think that adds some validation to your statement about the guy switching from Trillian.

Re:Know anyone who uses MSN Messenger? (4, Informative)

Tezkah (771144) | about 9 years ago | (#13525347)

Trillian supports MSN Messenger as well as AIM/ICQ/Yahoo!/IRC/Jabber etc. It's basically the same as GAIM, and supports most protocols (also supports plugins).

What I don't understand is what the grandparent is talking about, why would he have to change to MSNger to stop having to fight the firewall? Trillian mimics MSN Messenger in order to connect to MSN servers. The only problems with Trillian for me are high memory usage (although not so bad when compared to MSNger 7.0), slow interface, and Audio/Visual capabilities that only work half the time.

I've switched to MSNger exclusively because I don't have anyone I chat with regularly on AIM or Yahoo, so the benefits of Trillian/Gaim are much less than the frustrations of incompatibility with MSNger buddies. Besides, you can always break the EULA and remove the ads and such from the MSN client, I recommend SpeedyMSN [neowin.net] . Really cleans up the interface, if you can find the download for 2.0 (both speedymsn.tk and speedymessenger.net are down at the time of this writing.) You can bet Microsoft doesn't want people knowing that they can get rid of that pesky ad.... :)

Re:Know anyone who uses MSN Messenger? (0)

adtifyj (868717) | about 9 years ago | (#13525349)

That's strange, because I don't know anyone who doesn't.

My goodness. Where have you been hiding?
To quickly come up to speed, you might like to start here [ubuntu.com] .

Re:Know anyone who uses MSN Messenger? (2, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 9 years ago | (#13525389)

My goodness. Where have you been hiding?

Under a bridge. Duh.
P.S. You shouldn't feed it...

Re:Know anyone who uses MSN Messenger? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525374)

There's a difference between Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger.

WM is bundled with XP, and is hard to kill; MSNM needs downloading. Though they both run on the same network, MSNM is far more up to date, so everyone downloads that and uses it, while WM sits in the system tray using resources. Hence the point in the article.

HTH

MSN messenger IS NOT Windows Messenger (4, Informative)

gotr00t (563828) | about 9 years ago | (#13525536)

I think you're getting MSN confused with Windows messenger. While the former is a popular chat service that I must admit has a huge user base and lots of features, the latter is a built in "feature" of windows that allows people to display messages on your desktop.

Many spammers have taken advantage of "windows messenger" spamming by throwing packets at windows messenger in hopes that it will appear on the users' desktop. Disabling the messenger effectively eliminates this.

Re:MSN messenger IS NOT Windows Messenger (3, Interesting)

ravenlock (693538) | about 9 years ago | (#13525576)

Actually, there are three messengers.

MSN Messenger is the ad-ridden MSN client
Windows Messenger is the version without all the blinkety blink, but it's still a MSN client
Windows Messenger Service is the thing that displays pop-up messages from other conmputers.

Re:MSN messenger IS NOT Windows Messenger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525604)

Grandparent was right in saying Windows Messenger is not MSN Messenger - since most people do use the full client - but he was wrong in his detail.

All in one page/printer friendly (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525306)

LOL POST LOL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525371)

LOL POST LOL

How is this a troll mods? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525381)

The AC is giving a better link than what the submitters gave, WITHOUT ADS AND SANS THE TON OF PAGES.

Please inform me how that is troll after you are done modding stupidly.

LOL POST LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525399)

LOL POST LOL

One more thing they missed... (4, Insightful)

snotclot (836055) | about 9 years ago | (#13525310)

BITTORRENT...! o_O

/ bet you were expecting something creative like Linux eh? // bleh, 3rd post!

Re:One more thing they missed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525378)

BITTORRENT...! o_O

USEN...

I'd say it, but the first rule about "it" is... I do not talk about "it." The second rule... you know the rest.

20 ad filled pages you don't need to read (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525316)

click here [pcworld.com] for the single ("printer friendly") page so you don't need to click on the next page link after 3 paragraphs.

They also... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525321)

... don't want us to know about Lunix!!!1! [trollse.cx]

Mostly useless. (-1, Troll)

Sir_Dill (218371) | about 9 years ago | (#13525325)

20 things any geek worth his salt already knows

Re:Mostly useless. (5, Insightful)

ruebarb (114845) | about 9 years ago | (#13525350)

every hacker or geek had to start somewhere -

maybe learning how to copy Ipod tunes to multiple computers is just what the Dr. ordered to start someone down the road to unlocking the next propritary file format -

RB

Re:Mostly useless. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525369)

20 things any geek worth his salt already knows

The submitter has an AOL address! What do you expect?!

Re:Mostly useless. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525376)

Nothing groundbreaking, but might be a good primer for the non-techie in your life.

Most geeks can read however.

Be different: conform (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525330)

Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.

My Super-Bad Computer Speakers (5, Funny)

Monte (48723) | about 9 years ago | (#13525332)

You mean my speakers can't sink 1,000 watts?!? The deuce you say!

I love the power ratings on speakers. If those numbers were half true, playing an MP3 would make the streetlights dim in time to the music. And all that power somehow coming from a little 500 mA wall-wart. Science, wonders, and miracles!

Re:My Super-Bad Computer Speakers (5, Informative)

HateBreeder (656491) | about 9 years ago | (#13525410)

Actually,
they usually are true.

But most users don't know how to interpret the numbers.

For instance, when they said you speaker system is "1000 Watts" I'm pretty sure they meant the PMPO (Peak Music Power) rating, which means:
(According to http://www.epanorama.net/documents/audio/amplifier _power.html [epanorama.net] )
"So called "music power". This power figure tells the power which the amplifier can maximally supply in some conditions. PMPO rating gives the highest measuring value, but this info is quite useless, because there is no exact standard how PMPO power should be measured.

The reason for this power rating was to show the max capability of equipment for recreating strong musical transients like kettle drums and the like. Similar thing (music power rating) was used in the sixties, and I think it assumed a square wave that swung the whole supply range of the output stage. This alone gives them a factor of two over a clean sine wave note. But the ugliest thing they did was to assume that the high power lasted such a short period of time that the power supply caps would hold the voltages steady without any drooping. In the real world, an under powered PS could be hidden by this ruse and the PMPO might be a factor of 10 or more higher than what could be sustained on a nice instrumental performance.

Forget what adverts say about peak power or other "power terms" because they are not standardized and anyway comparable between equipments. Just look for "RMS continuous Power" or other reliable power rating (like DIN power). "

Generally, there isn't any direct mapping between PMPO and RMS (Root Mean Square) since every manufacturer formulates his own PMPO measurements....
Most of the time the RMS value of a speaker is about 10 times lower than the PMPO rating.
Which in your case, Means ~100 Watt RMS (This is VERY good for a single channel... but it's kind'a low for a large multi-speaker system).

Hope this helps.

Re:My Super-Bad Computer Speakers (5, Informative)

Handyman (97520) | about 9 years ago | (#13525492)

Also, when comparing speaker performance, Watts are definitely not the complete picture.

The first thing you need to find out is the efficiency of speakers. For instance, my speakers have an efficiency of 92 dB/W, which means that at a power level of 1 W, they will produce 92 dB of sound. As dB is a logarithmic scale, doubling the wattage will increase the number of dBs by 3, so a power level of 64 W will get me a 92 + 3 * 6 = 110 dB sound level. However, a speaker with an efficiency of 80 dB/W will only produce 98 dB for the same amount of power. I've seen efficiencies ranging from 70 dB/W up to the high ninety-somethings, so be careful to check these numbers.

The second thing you need to find out is the impedance of the speakers, combined with the impedance your amplifier is rated for. For instance, my amplifier is not simply rated as 50 W, but as 50 W for speakers with an impedance of 8 Ohms, and 100 W for speakers with an impedance of 4 Ohms. This can make some difference. Watch out with getting a speaker with very low impedance though: if your amplifier wasn't designed to handle that, they will probably draw too much power, causing the amplifier to get overheated. In addition, you will not be able to open up your volume knob more than a couple of millimeters -- and volume is probably something you like to have detailed control over.

Some more notes about speaker efficiency (5, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 9 years ago | (#13525562)

The average small to medium hi-fi loudspeaker tends to have an efficiency in the mid eighty-something dB/W. With something like 50 W of power, this is is quite sufficient for moderate volumes.
If you want something loud for the party cellar, look for something with 90 dB/W or better. This kind of efficiency is usually found in larger loudspeakers, which can also handle 100W RMS or more. I guess Handyman's speakers belong in that category and would do fine in the party cellar.
Big P.A. systems for rock concerts tend to have around 100 dB/W, combined with a few thousand watts of power. The resulting volume is quite impressive even in a large hall.

Re:My Super-Bad Computer Speakers (5, Funny)

zootm (850416) | about 9 years ago | (#13525530)

RMS continuous Power

Great. Now I have a mental image of Richard Stallman transforming into a fire-breathing, behemoth-sized Godzilla-style Free Software monster.

"No! Free Software must prevail! I need CONTINUOUSSSS POOOOOWWEEEEERRR"

Sparks, flames, etc.

Re:My Super-Bad Computer Speakers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525613)

Great. Now I have a mental image of Richard Stallman transforming into a fire-breathing, behemoth-sized Godzilla-style Free Software monster.
Transformation? What transformation? I guess the fire breathing is new, but I don't think that's going to work too well with his facial forest...

Extended Warranties Aren't Worth It (5, Insightful)

squoozer (730327) | about 9 years ago | (#13525346)

We all know this but I can't believe that PC World are actually saying it. They are one of the hardest sellers of extended warranties that I know. They once tried to sell me a warranty for a £10 mouse. IIRC the warranty was £15 but covered me for 3 years! No I don't shop there on a regular basis I just needed a mouse quickly.

As far as I can tell they make their money from running virus scanners on ill informed customers PC's. Their customer service is awful at best even when they are taking large sums of your money. I suppose that is the result of them being the only show in town. The last thing that really bugs me though is that they always have a security guard on the door.

Re:Extended Warranties Aren't Worth It (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525360)

I think I'm right in saying that the PC World (US) publication and the PC World store you're thinking about are completely different.

Still, you're right about PC World being pretty useless, highly inflated prices etc.

Re:Extended Warranties Aren't Worth It (5, Interesting)

Monte (48723) | about 9 years ago | (#13525364)

I would agree that extended warranties on PCs aren't worth it, but my rule is:

1) If it's something that goes on the shelf/table and just sits there, forget the warranty: TV, DVD player, stereo, laptop, PC, etc

2) If it's something you carry around, small, expensive and likley to break when dropped, consider the warranty: CD player, tape system, mini-disc, PDA, etc

This has served me in good stead, the two or three extended warranties I have gotten have definitely paid for themselves. But then I'm a klutz.

Extended warranties are worth it (4, Funny)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 9 years ago | (#13525577)

I'd add laptops to that list. I have had three of them, my first was a Toshiba which developed a broked LCD display (a month before the 1 year warranty expired) and a loose power connector (After warranty expired). The next one was an IBM laptop which I had for a loooooong time that also developed a broken LCD (After standard warranty expired but this time I bought an extended one). My current machine is a Powerbook which so far has gone through two defective LCD's (Factory flaw which Apple fixed without complaint) and an improperly re-assebled CD/DVD drive that assassinated a Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac disk (Original not pirate copy, also replaced without complaint by Apple although it was not a warranty issue). So does it pay to have an extended warranty? My opinion is a big fat YES but then perhaps I am phenominally unlucky with laptops. I am actually looking forward to finding out what will break down on the Intel-Mac PowerBook I am planning to buy as soon as they become available. One thing is for sure I will buy all the extra insurance for it that I can get.

Re:Extended Warranties Aren't Worth It (1)

MadChicken (36468) | about 9 years ago | (#13525612)

2 might not work. When I got my Palm, I asked if the extended warranty would cover the screen breaking, and they said no (Future Shop). So it covers basically nothing that needs covering.

Re:Extended Warranties Aren't Worth It (0, Redundant)

richy freeway (623503) | about 9 years ago | (#13525373)

It's not THAT PC World...

Re:Extended Warranties Aren't Worth It (1)

RJabelman (550626) | about 9 years ago | (#13525388)

They sell many small expensive items. Why shouldn't they have a security guard on the door?

Re:Extended Warranties sometimes are Worth It (1)

wantobe (626056) | about 9 years ago | (#13525417)

I won't mention again how you're talking about a completely different PC World (oh, wait...) Anyway, sometimes extended warranties are worth it. For instance, a new battery for my laptop costs more than the 3 year extended warranty did, and it covers new batteries without limiting the number of replacements I can get.

I will agree with another poster in this thread, though, that it depends on what it is. If it's a stationary piece of equipment, don't bother (unless it's really expensive and the warranty cost is 5% or less.)

Re:Extended Warranties Aren't Worth It (1)

Threni (635302) | about 9 years ago | (#13525420)

> The last thing that really bugs me though is that they always have a security
> guard on the door.

If you had a building with thousands worth of computer equipment, what would you use to stop people from just walking off with it? It's probably a requirement of their insurers.

Re:Extended Warranties Aren't Worth It (1)

DingerX (847589) | about 9 years ago | (#13525556)

Extended Warranty? How can I lose!

Another thing wrong (4, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 years ago | (#13525348)

They recommend buying things from Dell. For those who are already stuck with things from Dell it is possible to get replacement parts from third parties (even Dell laptop batteries) without having to spend hours on the phone.

It's PEEEEPLE!!!!! (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | about 9 years ago | (#13525352)

Soylent Green is PEOPLE!

LOL POST LOL (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525484)

LOL POST LOL

I miss BYTE! (1)

Elrac (314784) | about 9 years ago | (#13525353)

There's a reason I don't read brain-mushing, dumbed-down trash mags like PC World. /. is in many ways a horrible waste of time and brain cells, but I learn more from it than I would from PC World.

And yes, I once read a few issues of PC World, so my opinion is not completely unfounded. TFA just substantiates it a little more.

Not clever (3, Insightful)

Ronald Dumsfeld (723277) | about 9 years ago | (#13525356)

Is it just me, or does anyone else think this is dumb...
I keep my Windows system pretty well secured, but somehow that doesn't prevent Windows' Security Center from informing me that 'Your computer might be at risk' every morning when I turn on my computer. That message gets old fast. To banish it for good, go to Start, Control Panel, Security Center. Then click Change the way Security Center alerts me in the resources box and uncheck all of the boxes on the resulting screen.
Your average user should not be doing that.

Re:Not clever (1)

ettlz (639203) | about 9 years ago | (#13525401)

Your average user should not be doing that.

Come on, it's not going to make the slightest bit of difference. The average user ignores these messages and carries on using IE with an admin account anyway.

Re:Not clever (1)

earnest murderer (888716) | about 9 years ago | (#13525433)

Your average user should not be doing that. The average user doesn't care.

Re:Not clever (5, Insightful)

B1ackDragon (543470) | about 9 years ago | (#13525538)

I like the other replies, but I think the answer is less "the user doesn't care" and more "it trains the user not to care." The operating system crying wolf every 10 minutes for things that aren't problems (yes, Windows, anti-virus is updated) only serves to mask real security concerns.

I guess, as always, if you want it done right don't leave it to Windows.

Re:Not clever (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | about 9 years ago | (#13525565)

If security centre is popping up that message regularly, that would seem to indicate that he is not keeping his system well secured.

The only time I ever see that is if AVG hasn't had a chance to update itself for a couple of days (eg the machine just hasn't been on at the appropriate time, I've been away, etc) and warns me about it.

My geek life is complete... (0, Offtopic)

mj_1903 (570130) | about 9 years ago | (#13525358)

...now that I have made the front page of slashdot.

Perhaps I can move out of my parents basement now. :) j/k

Re:My geek life is complete... (2, Funny)

m00j (801234) | about 9 years ago | (#13525390)

Was the joke that you don't actually live in your parent's basement or that the idea of moving out of it is preposterous? :D

Re:My geek life is complete... (1)

mj_1903 (570130) | about 9 years ago | (#13525395)

I don't live there.

20 Things I don't want to know (5, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 9 years ago | (#13525367)

well I can't come up with 20 but here is a start

  • no matter what piece of hardware I buy, at any price, a faster and cheaper one will be out a week later
  • I really do look like a middle aged dad/geek- regardless of my #insert cool tech gadget here#
  • I spend more time getting my apps 'dialed in' than I do actually using them
  • I'll continue to upgrade every time my distro puts out a new release, even though everything works just fine now and my old hardware is having a tough time keeping up
  • At least once this week I'll continue explaining to someone about relational databases long after they have lost all interest.
  • I'll be showing my dad how to burn a cd at least 3 times in the next 2 months
  • my blog peaked that time 3 people read it in one day
  • When I 'signed' that one web petition for 'that cause' nothing happened
  • I'll get to use this in a couple days when this story gets posted again
  • Once again, I'll spend too much time at slashdot

Re:20 Things I don't want to know (5, Funny)

bhiestand (157373) | about 9 years ago | (#13525518)

my blog peaked that time 3 people read it in one day

Sorry to be the one to tell you, but that was just a faulty counter. The first page hit was when you went to the site to post to the blog. The second was from you viewing the page after posting it, just to make sure everything came out right. Then the third was when you returned a few hours later to check for any replies.

Re:20 Things I don't want to know (1)

zalle (637380) | about 9 years ago | (#13525578)

I really do look like a middle aged dad/geek- regardless of my #insert cool tech gadget here#

Ever considered that it's not regardless, it's because?

Ahhh yes, computer speaker ratings (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 9 years ago | (#13525368)

I always wondered where they got this shit. The first time I encountered it, I literally did a double take. I was poking around computer speakers, I don't remember why, and I came across a little set of desktop speakers. Nothing remarkable except that they were rated to about 300watts.

Ok now WTF? As it happens, I own professional speakers. They are about 5 feet tall, dual bass drivers, 3-way, etc. Serious speakers in other words. I check on them and they are rated to 200 watts a peice. Sounds reasonable for their size, but would still be pushing it. I'm sure they could handle 200 watts of RMS power, but I really wouldn't want to try it.

So how the hell can these little speakers handle 300 watts? I mean I can't even figure out a peak computation that would figure it. So I find that it's "PMPO" power. I don't know what PMPO means, Peak Momentary Power Output I've heard but I think SWPOOA would be a better term, Shit We Pulled Out of Our Ass. It seems to have no relation to reality, purely somebody's fantasy.

For that matter I can't figure out why you'd want that kind of power out of computer speakers. I drive my speakers with a 150 watt amp, that's 75 watts per channel so a little less than half of what they are rated to take. It's overkill in the purest sense of the word. For normal, modern music I rarely drive them beyond 1 watt each. For classical dynamic music, maybe 5 watts. This drives it to nearly painful levels.

More power is useful in large venues but for computers, who the fuck cares? Speakers are right next to you.

Re:Ahhh yes, computer speaker ratings (1)

blane.bramble (133160) | about 9 years ago | (#13525405)

PMPO = Peak Music Power Output. It uses the figure at the top of the peak, usually at a highish distortion level (1 or 2%), and then multiplies that by the number of speakers etc. to get a stupidly high figure compare to the RMS (Root Mean Square) calculation. It seems to vary from 4x to as much as 10x a sane calculation.

Re:Ahhh yes, computer speaker ratings (4, Insightful)

Babbster (107076) | about 9 years ago | (#13525452)

The truth is that people who care and know anything understand the situation and are not fooled, while the people who care and don't know anything will never tell the difference. It's always seemed like a nonissue to me...

Re:Ahhh yes, computer speaker ratings (3, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | about 9 years ago | (#13525511)

I think I once heard that they simply multiplied the actual Watt ratings for the speakers by the number of speakers. So a pair of 10W computer speakers would be 10W * 10W * 2 = 200 MarketingWatts!

I saw these from a brief Google search: "According how audio industry seems to use the term PMPO (peak music power output), in can be anything from 5 to 100 watts of PMPO that equals one real RMS watt." and "The vendor of the product calculates PMPO based on the maximum power output of the device under perfect conditions and 100% efficiency. These conditions are impossible to obtain, and no device can sustain the PMPO power for any significant length of time without being ruined. The PMPO power relies on the fact that amplifiers can provide short bursts of very high power. Over time, these short bursts when averaged with the lower output powers, gives the real value."

I have heard a lot less of PMPO in the UK in recent years, maybe they were banned from using it because it is purely a marketing term that has no grounding in reality.

As an aside, would most computer users be better off getting a real amplifier and real speakers and using them for 10 years rather than dealing with shitty PC speakers? I'm not talking audiophile stuff here, just stuff that you can pick up for a reasonable price. For gaming you'd probably want a decent surround system of course, but most other users?

Re:Ahhh yes, computer speaker ratings (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 9 years ago | (#13525606)

As an aside, would most computer users be better off getting a real amplifier and real speakers and using them for 10 years rather than dealing with shitty PC speakers?
In terms of audio quality, yes. Even a mediocre hi-fi system will beat the typical computer speaker hands down.
Ther are, however, two small caveats:
1) The "real" amplifier plus speakers tends to use up more desk space.
2) If you still use a CRT monitor, make sure that the speakers are not too close to the tube. The magnetic fields from the speakers' magnets can distort the path of the electron beam. Alternatively, look for magnetically shielded speakers.

Re:Ahhh yes, computer speaker ratings (1)

justforaday (560408) | about 9 years ago | (#13525534)

So how the hell can these little speakers handle 300 watts?

They simply add up the wattages of all the speakers. Chances are what it was a 5.1 set rated at 300 watts. This could break down to 30 watts for each satellite with a 150W sub. Of course, those are all peak ratings, too...

Re:Ahhh yes, computer speaker ratings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525569)

The vast majority (think 90+ percent) of the sound you get out of your speakers is delivered from the first watt of power. People need to be buying more efficient speakers instead of speakers rated to handle more power that are, in general, very inefficient.

Expensive Printers and warranties (3, Interesting)

Nightspirit (846159) | about 9 years ago | (#13525392)

I've found that printers typically only last a year, at most (I'm in college, so I use them alot). I've tried most brands (canon, HP, epson, lexmark) and not one of them have lasted over a year.

Finally I bit the bullet and got a 3 year extended warranty on an all-in-one, and couldn't be happier. Whenever that thing finally breaks (and it will be soon) I'll simply turn it in for a new one.

Re:Expensive Printers and warranties (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about 9 years ago | (#13525438)

I've found that printers typically only last a year, at most

If you don't need colour, get a laser. If you have the room, get an old HP5 (NOT 5L). You can get these for less than $40, they literally have a lifetime of millions of pages, and refill toner is cheap.

Re:Expensive Printers and warranties (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525537)

So true. I nearly shit myself when I saw an old HP IIIp at a thrift shop for $2. I guess people thought since it was so old, it was worthless ..?

Re:Expensive Printers and warranties (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | about 9 years ago | (#13525453)

Make sure you print something every week or so, if you leave it for more than a few weeks most printers will dry up and need a head replacement.

Re:Expensive Printers and warranties (4, Interesting)

bladernr (683269) | about 9 years ago | (#13525514)

I've found that printers typically only last a year

I've had an HP 4000 since 1997. I've printed lots, and I've never had a problem. I know someone who still has an HP 4si (circa 1993). Its not cheap to buy a quality laser printer, but, since I've only bought one printer in 8 years, I think it works out cheaper to buy quality.

Or, as with anything else, you get what you pay for.

Re:Expensive Printers and warranties (1)

zakezuke (229119) | about 9 years ago | (#13525526)

I've found that printers typically only last a year, at most (I'm in college, so I use them alot). I've tried most brands (canon, HP, epson, lexmark) and not one of them have lasted over a year.

If I buy another Epson in my lifetime I totally plan to get an extended warranty on it. In fact, i'm seriously considering buying an Epson r200, a printer I have direct experence with clogging and running amuck, leaking, and doing all sorts of crap other than printing with an extended warranty just so I can bug the living hell out of the people who sell these blasted things and perhaps in doing so, perhaps after a few million returns the stores will stop selling crap that they need to be accountable for under the extended warranty.
But I hope for too much.

What I don't understand is most printers are under some sort of warranty for at least a year. If they don't last a year you might be lucky and get a referb with free ink, which is no small potatos. Canon i've observed has a decent warranty where the most likely thing to go wrong with them is either a head clog or a head burnout, which in you can send them pictures of your nozzle test they'll send you a replacement head free of charge... so long as you jump through their tests. Not as cool as a referb with free ink, but still standing by their product. HP has had some dogs... but even those can be replaced.

Re:Expensive Printers and warranties (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525614)

Whenever that thing finally breaks (and it will be soon) I'll simply turn it in for a new one.

Heh. You realize an extended warranty means they fix the old one, not replace it? Good luck printing during the six weeks it will take them to fix your printer.

Sucker.

21... (3, Funny)

advocate_one (662832) | about 9 years ago | (#13525393)

how to survive a slashdotting...

they're not gonna let that one out...

Sometime fibs are good (2, Funny)

vivekg (795441) | about 9 years ago | (#13525437)

BAD fib
You know Upstream & downstream stuff they will say you will get 256 kbps, 512kbsp and so on. Few weeks back I was at friends place. When sales guy of local DSL Company came to give all info and started to explain how good DSL is from Dial up. He told my friend *DSL is your own lease line* :/? So I interrupted him and said you mean LL? He said like that... Hee so this is how they sales connections and they don't Want to know much about technology. Okay don't explain technology but don't fib... coz one day s/he will know this!

I found hardware vendor especially owners and a tech guy gives more fibs... for example somebody in shop would like to purchase 2 gig USB pen. Owner told lady that it has driver in USB that take some space so you will always not get exactly 2 gig space. Deal went very well. Some time fibs are good for example in this case you can't explain all the stuff to old lady about why you don't get 2 gig space on USB.

Re:Sometime fibs are good (1)

DerekJ212 (867265) | about 9 years ago | (#13525469)

You are saying there is a problem that the sales person called the acronym by its full name and that is a problem?

Re:Sometime fibs are good (4, Funny)

Loonacy (459630) | about 9 years ago | (#13525559)

I'm amazed you even understood what s/he was talking about. I thought it was just a bunch of random words strung together to resemble sentences.

find-a-human (4, Informative)

krunk4ever (856261) | about 9 years ago | (#13525440)

i found the find-a-human section quite helpful:

https://www.quickbase.com/db/bam6rdiey?a=q&qid=5 [quickbase.com]

You Can Get a Human on the Phone

Follow the directions at Paul English's Find-A-Human IVR Phone System Shortcuts site to reach a human operator at any of more than 60 cell phone, PC, and travel firms.


when i know i can find the info online, i won't bother. i need some help that an automated system can't provide or wastes too much time trying to get it to recgonize what i'm saying.

another winner i thought was:

Useless Specs: Digital Zoom

definitely the most useless spec i can't think of at the moment. it tricks unsuspecting buyers into believing their digicam has more 'zoom' than it really has.

Re:find-a-human (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525516)

When taking party photos with a 4megapixel camera, digital zoom IS useful, you can use the full 40x zoom and the pitcures still looks better than those from a cell phone camera.

Uk version of speak to a human? (1)

fantomas (94850) | about 9 years ago | (#13525555)

Has anybody done a UK version of find - a - person? would be really useful...

Re:find-a-human (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525584)

You can get a human at Charter Communications. They recently changed their phone answering menu to recognize your voice. I had to call them about not being able to connect to the internet and had to go through ALL the steps that I knew how to do already. When I finally got a human, I asked him how to avoid having to do all that useless shit. He said, "Just don't say anything to the prompts."

None of this is news to us... (1)

Red Samurai (893134) | about 9 years ago | (#13525443)

This is stuff the average nerd already knows.

Road to Riches - Bet against MS (4, Funny)

aelbric (145391) | about 9 years ago | (#13525458)

From the article:

"My PC's firewall, antivirus scanner, spyware remover, pop-up blocker, and spam filter all agree: Windows is sorely lacking in PC security. That situation may not change until Windows Vista (formerly Longhorn) comes out sometime next year."


Wonder if Vegas is giving any odds on this. Might be easy money.

And most of the world don't want us to know about: (0, Offtopic)

AM7 (719911) | about 9 years ago | (#13525459)

just check this link: http://alsaha2.fares.net/sahat?14@45.dRWmsiIXOL9.0 @.1dd828b1 [fares.net] see what did USA do to the Iraqi people.
just check this link:

http://alsaha2.fares.net/sahat?14@45.dRWm siIXOL9.0@.1dd828b1

see what did USA do to the Iraqi people.

Over-what? (1, Funny)

rasty (212471) | about 9 years ago | (#13525462)

Thank you for telling me CPUs can be overclocked! I thought Intel and AMD always worked to make my life easier and provide me with the best products at the lowest possible price, enriching my multimedia and internet experience with the best technology available!
Now my world is falling back on me!

I really hope they won't tell me my precious DVD collection could be copied next...

Ink for inkjet printers (2, Informative)

daffy951 (546697) | about 9 years ago | (#13525466)

There are inkjet printers where it would have been cheaper to buy a brand new printer than buying ink to the old one...

Quite a specifica article (1)

rasty (212471) | about 9 years ago | (#13525467)

Jokes aside, this article really looks a little bit too specific and out of personal experience. Won't actually make your whole life easier but just give a few tips here and there. Pretty simple ones too.
Some are also, imho, quite wrong as with the dead pixel warranty. In most conuntry in fact, despite what the manufacturer claims, warranties have to cover all defects of the purchased product, and it doesn't matter really what the manufacturer says they will or will not replace.

So, as usual, please also use own brain.

The deal with the pixels (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525475)

The manufacturer has to replace any defective part. That's the starting point here.

The question is what constitutes a defective part? Luckily for LCD manufacturers (and not so luckily for consumers) is that LCDs are specified to allow x number of non-working pixels and still be considered non-defective.

The same holds true for Flash RAM. Bad memory blocks are a fact of life in Flash RAM. And you can't get a replacement if the number of bad blocks isn't above the technical standards document.

OMG MORE INFO'z!!1! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525472)

lol here is more great information: LINK [adequacy.org]
thank god i read it now i am at least informaed.
lol how do i get to the contrl panal??????? SOMEBODY HELp PLEASEQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Burst Rates on Hard Drives Do Matter (3, Interesting)

Dangero (870946) | about 9 years ago | (#13525493)

I think part of the reason that the non-tec savy people stay non-tech savy is because they get so much conflicting bad information. Of course the DSL sales guy lies. He only knows enough about what he's selling to sell it. If he knew more, he wouldn't be selling it or installing it. He'd be doing something much more interesting. But regarding hard drives, I can't believe they are saying that the burst rate does not matter. With a 10 MB+ hard disk cache you better believe that a lot of the information you request is coming burst transfer from the cache. Sounds like they just ran out of good ideas for their list, but they are complete morons for making such an unsubstantiated claim.

Re:Burst Rates on Hard Drives Do Matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525549)

Anything in that tiny hard drive cache will almost certainly already be in the OS's filesystem cache.

WHAT BUSH DIDNT WANT YOU TO KNOW (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525532)

What George W Bush didn't want the public to know about New Orleans. [uskatrinarelief.com]

Windows' Bad Security? Give me a break. (4, Funny)

Ravatar (891374) | about 9 years ago | (#13525557)

TFA states that your Windows Product Key being retrievable is a security risk. What??

Not to mention the fact that the author uses Windows to manage his passwords, which he cites as another of the software's "security risks". The only security risk in this situation is the article's author.

Slashdot (1)

FLOOBYDUST (737287) | about 9 years ago | (#13525563)

Truth #1:


Slashdot := (Hack-A-Day) | delay (24 hrs)


Slashdot:= (Slashdot *(t-120 Hours))


Locked Cell phone / DRM crap (4, Interesting)

SynapseLapse (644398) | about 9 years ago | (#13525574)

If you don't want to pay the ridiculous rates that cell phone companies charges for the luxury of putting .jpg/.png/.mid/.mp3/whatever on your cellphone, try out this site:

http://www.phoneuploader.stellernet.com/ [stellernet.com]

I've spent the last couple hours uploading Mario .mid files to my phone, it's way too much fun.

That's funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13525585)

Nothing groundbreaking, but might be a good primer for the non-techie in your life.

I could have sworn this was 'news for nerds', not 'non-techies in need of primers'.

That Mind.Forth is True Artificial Intelligence (0, Offtopic)

Mentifex (187202) | about 9 years ago | (#13525608)

20 Questions [20q.net] is not where it's really at in artificial intelligence.

Mind.Forth [sourceforge.net] is the True AI you're not supposed to know about.

Stumble upon [stumbleupon.com] Forbidden Knowledge in artificial intelligence and you could be in danger because you Know Too Much.

Slashdot readers [slashdot.org] figure out the Hidden Truth for themselves.

914pcbots.com [914pcbots.com] is the Forbidden A.I. Zone where techies discuss installing secret AI Minds in PC-based robots but: Hush! (It's a big secret -- Forbidden Knowledge).

Novamente [wikipedia.org] is another truth-will-out story of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

AGI Mail List [agiri.org] is where the l33t heavyweights talk about Artificial General Intelligence.

AGI Secret Archive [mail-archive.com] is where you may eat of the fruit of the tree of the Forbidden Knowledge about artificial general intelligence.

Lasciate ogni esperanza, voi che entrate [acm.org] .

When shopping at Dell.. (5, Funny)

Trogre (513942) | about 9 years ago | (#13525615)

When shopping at Dell
always, and I mean always, remember to never actually buy your computer there.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>