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Windows 8.1 Update Released, With Improvements For Non-Touch Hardware

AudioEfex Re:It's a start (294 comments)

I didn't claim to be a power user, but I would consider myself above average as far as normal computer using folks. I don't write programs, but it can write advanced Excel macros. I've never built a PC from scratch but I've torn down my laptop all the way and can upgrade anything. I'm an advanced user but no expert. And I'll be fully honest - never even knew alternate UI's existed until folks started posting about them here in regards to Win8. I never needed to know because I was always able to customize Windows to do what I wanted. So, if I have never heard of replacement UIs, chances are, most non-IT users don't, either.

about a week ago
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Windows 8.1 Update Released, With Improvements For Non-Touch Hardware

AudioEfex Re:huh (294 comments)

A lot of times I just am working with a mouse and don't have hands on a keyboard. I have a Razer Naga with 19 buttons I often don't need the keyboard. Just clicking the x was so much easier than having to click and drag down to emulate touch. Yes, we are talking about minor effort, but when you do it dozens of times a day it's just annoying. And that's just the start.

It's just absurd to have to use a mouse to emulate touch which was designed to emulate a mouse to begin with. It is like translating something from French to English and then translating it back to French. WTF is the point.

about a week ago
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Windows 8.1 Update Released, With Improvements For Non-Touch Hardware

AudioEfex Re:It's a start (294 comments)

I agree. I lived with Win8 for a month or so but just got so annoyed having to slide my mouse around just to close a window and having to fight just to get to the desktop. I gave it a good try, but then I just booted the whole thing and went back to Win7.

It wasn't a lack of willingness to adapt, it was because the interface clearly was not aimed at traditional desktop use. And I have no desire whatsoever for a touch screen - one at the size I would need is not only prohibitively expensive for what I'd wish to pay, but I'm not going to reach up constantly when it's much more efficient to just use a mouse and keyboard in most cases. I can do everything more quickly (why pinch to resize when my mouse wheel does it perfectly, etc.) and I don't have to relearn how to do basic tasks.

I also gave the whole "tiles" thing a try - but again, just organizing it was a chore, I don't have the need for live widgets (and, as others point out, they could work just as easily from the desktop anyway), and because of how many apps I use regularly, the thing was unwieldy to scroll across. I also am apt to add an app to try it out, and delete it if it wasn't what I really needed (so hard to tell just from reviews these days, particularly with video manipulation software), and it always seemed to leave various junk files laying around which I then had to go in to manually remove (text readmes, etc). It was a major PITA.

If someone who has been using Windows for 20 years daily had as much issue as I did, someone who folks routinely ask me to "fix" their computers (get rid of errant toolbars, etc.) - there was no hope for the average user. Nothing was intuitive about it. Even if someone just wanted to click on simple apps or links to use them (say, my mom who goes to like 3 websites, uses like 3 or 4 apps, and that's about it) she would have never been able to set that up herself.

I still have my Win8 Upgrade copy, at some point I'm sure some afternoon in the next few months I'll be watching a TV marathon and decide to give it a whirl - but I'll be fully mirroring my current Win7 set-up so I can go back if they've just put lipstick on a pig. Hopefully they have addressed the usability issues - all that crap they added would be great options for someone who wants to use a touch-interface exclusively, but all it felt like to me was using Windows through a space suit underwater...

about a week ago
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Why No Executive Order To Stop NSA Metadata Collection?

AudioEfex Re:Is it not obvious? They have dirt on him! (312 comments)

I was with you at the beginning, until you turned it into an "anti-geek" rant. It's too bad you derailed yourself or you may have gotten a point across - but since you didn't, your post will fall into moderated obscurity.

The part I agree with is that I personally am not concerned whatsoever with the metadata. At all. And the only reason you see most of the media coverage is because folks don't understand what metadata is. If you polled the public right now you would largely find them believing the government is secretly recording and archiving all of our actual phone calls. They aren't.

I know I'll get lectured about "slippery slopes" by saying this, and get down modded, but hey, my karma can take it. I couldn't give a flying fuck if they have a list of my phone calls - my cell phone company already does and it wouldn't be that difficult to get anyway if the government actually cared.

I don't call people on watch lists, I don't call any known criminals, and if they want to see that I called my dentist or my mom last week, yay for them. That's all they will find.

That's yet another reason I don't give a shit - who the hell makes all kinds of calls these days, anyway, except for business if you must. I text everyone I know - and just like when I type data into any electronic device, I am fully well aware it is not secure from the government or anyone else really should someone be curious. So if they want to see me kvetching about Game of Thrones or read me talking to a friend about a restaurant to have dinner at, again - go for it. I'm flattered anyone would care.

I know the groupthink here is to distrust and be wary of everything that has anything to do with the government, but I think there are much worse aspects to be worried about while folks are freaking out over this. If I was a conspiracy theorist (which I on the rare occasion may be) I'd say the whole thing was a big distraction to keep us occupied while the real bad stuff is happening.

In any case, after this hit and I read about it for myself, instead of listening to what folks were saying about it and hyping it up to be, and saw that it was just metadata, I haven't thought about it since until now.

Oh shit...I gotta go. Guys in dark suits and expensive shades just showed up in black SUV's in my driveway. They found out that I missed my dentist appointment and forgot to cancel beforehand!!! Damn you metadata, damn you!!!

about two weeks ago
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The Amazon Fire TV Is Kind of a Mess

AudioEfex Re:Bullshit review - facts help (96 comments)

Oh, and to whomever is abusing mid points by calling this "off topic" - may your karma points reflect your idiocy. Must be a Jobs-clit-licker.

about two weeks ago
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The Amazon Fire TV Is Kind of a Mess

AudioEfex Bullshit review - facts help (96 comments)

Netflix was not included in the search because Netflix asked not to be. This was made in an official statement by Amazon.

I own one, and this is the best thing since sliced bread. It is so incredibly fast your head spins - every other device I have tried is so slow and wonky - the power of this machine is incredible. I unhooked my AppleTV and stuck it on eBay because thankfully none of my content is iTunes and stuck forever in Apple's walled garden.

The only caveat is that at launch (a whole two days ago) there are a few services notably missing - HBO GO and Vudu. However, unlike Apple it doesn't take an act of congress to get a new service, I have no doubt apps will be available for those services and many others very quickly. I understand if folks may wait for that to happen, but I have no doubts it will, and soon. For now, I'll use XBOX 360 for HBO GO and my Blu-ray player for Vudu, but the second the apps become available for Fire I'll jump ship so quick, well, you'll think I'm on fire.

The speed of this device just blows my mind, even though I have a bunch of devices that stream various media I always assumed that unless I hooked a full-on computer to my TV I'd have the same endless loading, just to get an app up and running so I could watch something. In a few months once the App Store for it is booming, I cannot see anyone choosing a different brand of device unless they are forced to because they lacked the foresight not to tie their media libraries into one companies devices.

Once you have seen a Fire in action, you will be blown away.

about two weeks ago
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NASA Can't Ethically Send Astronauts On One-Way Missions To Deep Space

AudioEfex Re:Ethics is Relative. PERIOD. (402 comments)

Have you missed the project where an independent entity is doing just that? They were taking applications last year. www.mars-one.com

about two weeks ago
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NASA Can't Ethically Send Astronauts On One-Way Missions To Deep Space

AudioEfex Re:Ethics is Relative. PERIOD. (402 comments)

Hell yeah. It's OK to send 18 year old barely-not-children-anymore to the hell hole Middle East with a pretty decent chance of dying - and usually for something shitty like a roadside bomb on top of it - not even in direct combat defending something - just in hopes that if they survive their education will be paid for - yet it's not ethical for someone to go to freaking Mars voluntarily if they want?

To quote you - Fuck. That. Hard.

Our priorities here are beyond fucked - but you only have to look at the war budget vs the NASA budget to know that. I'm sure someone has the statistics, but I'm pretty sure that what we spend on NASA in a year is equivalent to what - hours, days in war funding for the Middle East?

about two weeks ago
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Will Cameras Replace Sideview Mirrors On Cars In 2018?

AudioEfex Re:Somewhat cheaper... (496 comments)

I agree. Hell, you can just slap a stick-on mirror over a broken one, in a pinch. I was driving cross-country once and needed to do just that - it got me through that trip until I was able to replace it. If the camera/connector/cable/display goes wonky it would have been a much more time consuming, expensive, and bitchly process, even just to figure out what stopped working.

There is also something to be said about feeling disconnected - no pun intended - that you get in video but you don't get in mirrors. You are looking at a direct reflection of reality with your own eyes as opposed to a digital image - it may not be measurable in metrics but your eyes are still seeing the reflection (insert "objects are closer than they appear" message, LOL) versus a digital eye that you then interpret. I just think disconnecting ourselves further from what is outside of our cars is probably not the best idea.

All that said, unless I'm in bumper to bumper street traffic, I don't really use side mirrors much to begin with (yet by all accounts I think I am a pretty decent driver - I was in one accident when I was 16 (20 years ago) and I've driven well over 700K miles since then - I have no "points on my license" etc., and I'm usually complemented - I think it comes from the combo of my mom racing cars and my dad being a police officer, LOL). Some driving instructors will tell you to use the mirrors, but old school ones tell you to actually turn your head when you can (especially on the highway when nothing is straight in front of you). It's just a second (less time than if you futz with some control) and then you actually see with your own eyes. It may not work for everyone, but it's worked for me - and removing myself twice from that by not only not using the mirrors, but a video camera, just seems silly for me, at least.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

AudioEfex Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (387 comments)

Hey, at least it's better than digging-our-heels-in-screw-the-users-we-know-better Apple. I applaud them for making this change, it may actually get me to reinstall Windows 8. I don't have a touch screen on my desk, and I don't want one (who wants to constantly be reaching up instead of tiny mouse flicks), but at least Microsoft has the balls to admit they were wrong and are undoing it. Unlike Apple, which fucks up your interface, everything about how you use their OS (iOS7 = I'll never purchase another Apple phone again) and tells you to like it or to fuck off, no you can't choose the background of your notepad because we know better than you what you should like.

When I think back to 20 years ago when Microsoft was the big bad and Apple was the almost "holistic" alternative, it's amazing how a few extremely successful products can change the perception of a company. Steve Jobs died a lonely but very very rich asshole who folks struggled to say a kind word about beyond his "design expertise" (did you hear one person say anything actually NICE about him? I actually sought out articles about his death looking and I couldn't find a single one) and here is DR. Evil himself Bill gates running around the globe giving away billions of dollars and actually improving the quality of life for people all over the planet, not just giving a gee-cool-slickly designed device or two to middle-to-upperclass folks who have the luxury of being able to afford a smartphone and it's service so we can feed our endless consumption appetite.

Who ever knew Microsoft would end up being the "good" sibling.

about two weeks ago
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Square Market Now Accepts Bitcoin

AudioEfex Re:They're getting into Bitcoin NOW?!? (94 comments)

If you mean "inevitable wave of the future", as in "3-D movies in the home is the inevitable wave of the future" or "nuclear power is the inevitable wave of the future"...well, all I can say is, good luck with that, LOL.

about two weeks ago
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Astronauts' Hearts Change Shape In Space

AudioEfex Re:Spinning Space stations (113 comments)

That's also the conceit Star Trek uses, although the entire ship doesn't spin, just a plate within it. Like many space travel issues, we know how to do it, or at least have a reasonable idea of how it can be done, but it's difficult because even if we had the funding, the only ways in which things are possible would have the side effect of turning us into mush/killing us in the process. It's force fields that are the ingredient we really need to make a lot of this stuff work around our fragile human bodies.

about two weeks ago
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Famous Paintings Help Study the Earth's Past Atmosphere

AudioEfex Re: crazy (126 comments)

It's how it is with so many things. Grains of truth may be there, but those who protest the loudest always have to go too far and come off with ridiculous crap like this so people like you and I just end up being disillusioned to the entire movement. It's like the "Woman in the Refridgerator" comic book stuff - sure, could women be better represented in comics? Of course. But when every little thing is brought forth and used as de facto evidence of something, it just makes you shake your head and walk away (for example, you cannot complain that too many female villains are too pretty and then complain when the "ugly" one is evil).

The folks that perpetrate this type of rhetoric think they are serving the greater good (think: Al Gore) but in the end they make even open minded people turn off totally because they think they have to overstate and inflate things to get our attention. According to Al Gore's statements a decade or so ago we are only what, five or six years from Manhattan being under the ocean? Please.

It has reached these religious levels where you cannot even have a rational discussion about it. It's also hypocritical - not to beat on Al Gore again, but how many private plane flights has that guy taken? I don't see him using a bicycle to get everywhere and he's probably one of the folks that drives an electric car and doesn't realize the environmental impact of the limited-lifespan batteries in them are no better for the overall environment than burning fossil fuels (the pounds of nickel in the batteries is devastating, dangerous, and rare to mine, usually by child labor).

about two weeks ago
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Operation Wants To Mine 10% of All New Bitcoins

AudioEfex Re: I admire their spunk, but... (275 comments)

Right there with you. Wasting such resources on on computations explicitly designed to tax equipment for what amounts to a hardware pissing contest, burning actual finite resources to do so (metals, coal for electricity, etc.).

As to the posting, it was only a matter of time before disruptive forces like this began to pop up. One way or another, in order for BitCoin to become what it wants to become (a legitimate currency) it's has to succumb to the very thing it was trying not to be (at the mercy of "big business"/corporatiszation and government regulated like the new IRS rules regarding it).

about three weeks ago
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Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

AudioEfex Re:This "article" must have fallen off the short-b (490 comments)

Yup, my cherry has been popped.

If this is a regular occourance, I have to ask though - who's he blowing?

(And, I really am curious - I'd love to have my brain farts suddenly warrant a ./ front page article, I'm up to go down.)

about three weeks ago
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Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

AudioEfex Re:Did you--and the other DVD lovers--read TFA? (490 comments)

Yes, I read it - as painful as it was since it was written so poorly and scattered to begin with - and I'm a Blu-ray lover, thank you. :)

Other folks have addressed some of his other fallacies in terms of "allowing", rights issues, etc. - as I said, I didn't want to take the time to write a complex post refuting what he said because he said so many idiotic things and made so many baseless assumptions it would have taken a post as long as his to correct it all.

For example, he is totally ignorant of the fact that in many cases, they don't have the legal rights to stream everything they can put on DVD/Blu-ray to begin with - it's a legal issue, depending on when the film was made in particular, as to what kind of contract was signed. Sure, in 2014 if you sign a film contract they include every right under the sun, uninvented technologies, perpetual use, etc. - but it's only been a few decades since folks had "home video/media" as standard in contracts, let alone digital rights. The law is increasingly saying that digital rights are not included, so unless a studio owns something outright and produced the film in-house (not always as common as you think, just because a studio has rights to distribute a film doesn't mean they own it - like the Star Wars situation before Disney bought up Lucasfilm), they may well not be able to.

And that's just one - there are several other complete misunderstandings about the system to pick from in the "article".

I was challenging one of his false base assumptions that we would actually all want that to happen, specifically that "Surely the streaming option is more convenient for almost everybody," while ignoring the fact that "convenient" is not always "most desirable" - which was the point of the microwave analogy. Sure, you can cook just about anything more quickly in a microwave, and it sure is convenient to throw something on a plate, shove it in the device, and pull it out a minute later - eating it off of the same plate you cooked it on.

But as most folks will tell you, rarely is microwaved food actually the preferred way to cook food because of it's taste, texture, consistency, heat distribution, and how quickly it cools off. That's why a microwave is very much like streaming - it's there, sometimes you just feel like being super-lazy/something easy, or have limited options - it works. But it's not the way most people would choose to cook their food primarily and certainly isn't the best quality.

about three weeks ago
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Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

AudioEfex Re:We are now all ##AA-Stooges (490 comments)

That depends on who you know and where you live. And what you mean by "dying", and if you are talking about DVD specifically or physical disc media (DVD and Blu-ray).

If you mean DVD vs. Blu-ray, it's been a slow death and shows no signs of ending anytime in the immediate future. Blu-ray sales are up, particularly for new releases, but DVD is still well entrenched and the choice of middle-American consumers.

If you mean physical media period, I can see how many in the /. community may think that, but it's now how it is with the general public. DVD sales are actually not in free-fall. DVD sales dropped 8% in 2013, even though Blu-ray was up. That's a drop - but there are countless other factors, from the quality of films released that year, etc. It is shrinking, but again - it's still the lion share of the home media viewing market.

Most of the growth, though, was in streaming - not ownership. The amount of folks purchasing digital content (vs. renting or streaming it) went up about 5% - which isn't anything near what streaming went up (30+%). So not everyone is "switching" over - some (an increasing amount) just aren't "purchasing" at all, at the moment. Streaming is cheap as dirt, comparatively (you can pay for a month of Netflix and Hulu for the price of purchasing one new release DVD or Blu-ray).

Thing is, once Internet caps arrive in the US (which we know is only a matter of time) streaming will loose steam, instantly (semi-pun intended). Then will be more of a test of if people really want to move over to purchasing digital media, much of which lives behind walled gardens, or if they still like grabbing a DVD or two when they are at Wal-mart doing their shopping.

about three weeks ago
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Peter Molyneux: Working For Microsoft Is Like Taking Antidepressants

AudioEfex Re:Thanks for peptuating (164 comments)

Yeah, I knew there would be offended folks right away when I clicked on comments - and look, it was the first one. Great reply, though.

Don't apologize for the "rant" - you actually explained it perfectly. It's exactly what Molyneux was trying to express - you cannot take away the downs without also affecting the "ups".

For some people, like those that cannot function properly in life because of the "lows", it's worth it or is beneficial even in some cases to limit the "ups" as well. For others, who may feel that dynamic emotions are an important part of life, it may not be worth it.

I think there is also the "over-diagnosed" factor which is what makes some people so dismissive of it in general that other folks get highly defensive over it - just like ADHD, etc. There really is nothing offensive or inaccurate about his comment. Of course there are people who have these things, and severe enough that medication is beneficial. There also comes a point when so many people are being medicated for something that it's hard to argue that we may be not properly judging what is "balanced" when it turns out almost as many folks are diagnosed as "unbalanced" as we deem "balanced" - as in, when we start medicating for the "norm" versus the "exceptional".

But that's another topic, really - the point is, the guy made an analogy and it filled the point of an analogy - it gave me an instantly clear understanding of exactly what idea he was trying to express.

about three weeks ago
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Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

AudioEfex Re:We are now all ##AA-Stooges (490 comments)

Apple's single digit percentage take of the laptop market isn't an indicator of anything.

The reason Apple devices don't come with drives anymore, period, is that they would need to be Blu-ray players at this point, and Apple refuses to put them in Mac's because they don't want to be in bed with Sony, coupled their incessant need to make a device as thin as possible (because most of us walk around with our laptop all day, apparently, or folks like you that must have some sort of medical disorder that a few extra ounces makes something "too heavy").

DVDs still sell incredibly well, it's one reason Blu-ray has taken so long to take hold.

It's all well and good if you basically use your computer as an Internet machine, and want to live off of WiFi, but discs are portable and put the user in control, not the walled garden and it's decision to allow you access to what you "own" or not (it's already happened that "rights issues" have come up and people have lost access to digital content they "owned"). Not to mention, you aren't married to a single service forever.

As to the "sensible" pricing - yup, you can buy a film for $5 at Wal-mart on DVD and then Apple wants $15-20 if you buy it on iTunes. Gee, wonder why that is. Oh yeah, you probably might want to start with the fact that Apple thinks they deserve 30% off the top of work someone else has done just for hosting a file.

Music is different, it is inherently consumed "on the go" - in vehicles, headphones as people go about their day, etc. It makes somewhat more sense in that case (at least now that Apple has dropped DRM on it). But films are a far different beast, and what applies to music does not automatically apply there, despite the best efforts of Apple to make you want to dump your cash into the walled garden so they have you by the balls.

about three weeks ago
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Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

AudioEfex This "article" must have fallen off the short-bus (490 comments)

This is the single stupidest, most presumptuous, idiotic thing I have ever read on /. that wasn't in the comments section - and it still vies for the top spot, even including them.

I started to write a complex response, but then realized that it would be asinine to give this drivel that much of my time when I can sum it up very easily:

Asking this idiotic question and not realizing the dozens of factors from quality (1080p streaming does not = 1080p Blu-ray, unless you are watching all your content on a tiny laptop screen), to the fact this AYCE streaming-world is mostly unique to the US and won't be sustainable here once Internet caps are in place for most folks (which anyone who follows such things knows is coming), and everything in between, is akin to someone posting an article saying, "Why doesn't everyone just cook with a microwave since it's the simplest, most convenient way to cook food?"

Though, it should have been obvious the writer was a tool from the first sentence - if you are idiotic enough to buy a laptop from Best Buy of all places, you don't have much sense to begin with.

about three weeks ago

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