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The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

Ed Avis Re:The Model F is even better (304 comments)

Yup, the PC-AT keyboard has the one true enter key in the large reverse L shape. After that things went downhill: the US layout for the Model M chopped off the top part and made Enter a thin horizontal line like Shift, and the international or ISO layout (which I normally use) chopped off the left hand part and left Enter as a rectangle: better than the US version, but still too small for one of the most frequently used keys on the board.

The biggest annoyance with the AT keyboard is the lack of F11 and F12 keys, if your applications use those (e.g. to step into statements in a debugger). The Esc key being on the numeric keypad is also odd but you get used to that.

There's also the 122-key Model F 'aircraft carrier', which has a much more modern layout, close to the international Model M layout.

But if you do prefer the US Model M layout (de gustibus non est disputandum, after all), then here's a way to modify the PC-AT keyboard: http://geekhack.org/index.php?...

about two weeks ago
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The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

Ed Avis Re:The Model F is even better (304 comments)

Do you mean the 122-key Model F 'aircraft carrier' (I have a couple of those, but they require Soarer's Converter) or something else? I haven't heard of a 138-key version.

about two weeks ago
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The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

Ed Avis Re:I love Model Ms. I still have two of them. (304 comments)

I have never heard of a Model M keyboard damaging a computer when plugged into the PS/2 keyboard port. After all, the PS/2 keyboard port is specifically designed for PS/2 keyboards, and the Model M is like the reference implementation. When driven over USB using an adaptor, it is true that a Model M will require more current than a newer keyboard, but still within the USB spec.

about two weeks ago
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The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

Ed Avis Re:I love Model Ms. I still have two of them. (304 comments)

Recycle them? Noooo! Please tell us you at least gave them to a thrift store or sold them on Ebay. FWIW, the recommended PS/2 to USB adaptor is called the 'blue cube' and works well with the Model M. There's also Soarer's Converter which you can build yourself with a Teensy programmable microcontroller, and handles a wide range of old keyboards including the M.

about two weeks ago
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The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

Ed Avis The Model F is even better (304 comments)

Model Ms are great. I have about a dozen of them. But the earlier Model F (based on capacitive switches underneath buckling spring) is even better. The Model F keyboard included with the original IBM PC excels in being heavy and clicky, but it has an awkward layout. The PC-AT introduced a much better layout, and the keyboard is electrically compatible with the later PS/2 plug (you just need a $2 adaptor). I am typing on a PC-AT keyboard now.

about two weeks ago
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Dell Demos 5K Display

Ed Avis Re:Anti-aliasing (204 comments)

I run a mixture of Dell UP2414Q and IBM T221 monitors. The Dell has 185 pixels per inch, the T221 a bit more. Personally I find that with 200% font scaling (in Windows) there is no need for anti-aliasing and I have it turned off.

about a month and a half ago
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Dell Demos 5K Display

Ed Avis Re:DPI Scaling (204 comments)

Have you tried Windows's DPI scaling? I am using Windows 7 with 200% font size and it works well. Before that I used Windows XP and that worked almost as well. To get a usable scaled display, pick exactly 200% so that if icons have to be scaled up they do so cleanly - I agree that odd multiples like 150% can look ugly. Next, make sure Aero is turned off and switch back to a 'classic' theme. The scaling is set in Control Panel -> Display -> Set custom text size (DPI). I use this at work and PuTTY, Firefox, Microsoft Office and sundry other tools all work fine. The only things which don't scale, annoyingly, are the command prompt window and Remote Desktop.

about a month and a half ago
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Dell Demos 5K Display

Ed Avis Re:In other news: Are 4K displays worth getting ye (204 comments)

It depends what you do. For text-based workflow (Emacs, web browsing, possibly an IDE) 30Hz is fine. I've even gone as low as 12Hz refresh (on an early model IBM T221 connected to a laptop with only a single DVI output) and it was usable. Tip: if you do end up with 30Hz, Nvidia cards let you turn off vsync. This seems to speed up refresh a bit, making the mouse pointer smoother.

about a month and a half ago
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Dell Demos 5K Display

Ed Avis Re:in the meantime : (204 comments)

Try turning off Aero, going back to a 'classic' (Windows XP style) theme, and setting 200% font size scaling in Control Panel 'set custom text size (DPI)'. At least, this does the trick on Windows 7 and I expect 8 would be similar.

about a month and a half ago
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Dell Demos 5K Display

Ed Avis Re:in the meantime : (204 comments)

Out of interest what monitor ran at 1920x1600? For desk space, many 24 inch monitors can rotate 90 degrees so they have a small footprint. (e.g. Dell UP2414Q rotated will give you 2160x3840)

about a month and a half ago
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Dell Demos 5K Display

Ed Avis Re:In other news: Are 4K displays worth getting ye (204 comments)

FWIW, at work I use 24" 4k monitors with 200% font scaling on Windows 7, and pretty much every application works fine. The only thing which doesn't scale is the command prompt window. Note that I am talking about the old font size selector in Control Panel which has been there for years and years - the first thing to do is to turn off all of that Aero crap.

about a month and a half ago
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Firefox 32 Arrives With New HTTP Cache, Public Key Pinning Support

Ed Avis Re:First impressions (220 comments)

Yes, I wonder the same thing. I use Pale Moon on a portable (Panasonic CF-U1) which has a reasonable amount of RAM (2 gigs) but the slowest hard disk you've seen since about 1988. The disk is an SSD but so slow it might as well be a floppy drive. Browsing is subject to freezes on disk activity and I guess that some of that might be due to the disk cache. Firefox's new code should help that, so it might make vanilla Firefox faster than Pale Moon on this machine.

about 1 month ago
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Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier

Ed Avis Re:Microsoft (267 comments)

Yes it needed to be a warning every time you run the Skype program.

about 3 months ago
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Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier

Ed Avis Re:Microsoft (267 comments)

Well, you get what you pay for I guess. But if Skype has ambitions to replace ordinary telephony, it needs to adopt some of the same attitudes. It would never be acceptable for your phone company to suddenly cut you off without warning and tell you to buy a new phone. They should have a minimum six month period in which they warn that you will need to upgrade. Mac OS 10.5 is the last version running on PowerPC; if you have an older iMac or Mac Mini then it is not that cheap to upgrade to an Intel one, even second-hand. Back in 1995 the idea of using a decade-old machine was laughable. But hardware has been at the 'fast enough' level for a while now and there is no longer so much difference between old and new machines for many applications. Sure, you wouldn't expect to run the latest games or 4k video editing on your old box, but most bread and butter things like text editing and Web browsing work just fine on older hardware. Voice-over-IP is one of those basic things nowadays (even with crappy webcam video accompanying it). I don't think it's an unreasonable expectation that your PC which was capable of making voice calls in 2004 should still be able to make them in 2014.

about 3 months ago
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Rocket Scientist Designs "Flare" Pot That Cooks Food 40% Faster

Ed Avis Re:very cool (204 comments)

If you cook with a gas hob, which this pot is designed for, there is no thermostat. I don't think the additional surface area on the *outside* imposes an extra cleaning burden.

about 3 months ago
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Exploiting Wildcards On Linux/Unix

Ed Avis Re:Question... -- ? (215 comments)

Yes, there is a workaround you can use, if you know about it and remember it every time, to enable the safe behaviour. That does *not* count as 'problem solved'. To solve the problem, the safe behaviour needs to be the default, with the funky and unsafe behaviour of treating filenames as extra switches being the one you have to enable specially. Really - what are the odds that the user or programmer *intends* for a file called --foo to be treated as an option specifier when they expand a wildcard? Conceptually the fix is not hard. Each element in argv gets an associated flag saying whether it is a filename - and if it is marked as a filename, getopt() or whatever does not treat it as an option specifier even if it begins with the - character. Alternatively, filenames beginning - could simply be disallowed.

about 4 months ago
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4K Monitors: Not Now, But Soon

Ed Avis Re:multiple inputs for 4k? (186 comments)

That's how the later model IBM T221s worked (with additional converter boxes dangling off the monitor). Each half of the screen was seen as a 1920x2400 display. Some newer 4k monitors work similarly using multi-stream transport (MST). The video card sees two 1920x2160 displays. But there is only one DisplayPort cable. Dell's 24" and 32" 4k monitors are like this. Video drivers usually have special support for gluing the two halves back into a single display, but the extra complication can expose bugs in either the driver or the monitor's firmware.

about 4 months ago
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Endurance Experiment Writes One Petabyte To Six Consumer SSDs

Ed Avis Re:Supported (164 comments)

I think that's what I was saying: a random mixture of disk sizes is not supported by this particular RAID implementation - it will only use the same size across each disk, meaning you are constrained to the size of the smallest disk in the pool. You have to upgrade all of the disks to a larger size before starting to use that size. Btrfs and ZFS sound like they handle it much better.

about 4 months ago
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Freecode Freezeup

Ed Avis Re:Not a surprise (62 comments)

Yes that's right, the listing was deleted if you didn't respond. That tended to bite me as I would only check my personal email infrequently. I think that even if the listing owner disappeared completely, it would still be better to have an entry saying 'hey, this program exists, can you help find it?' and listing the last known whereabouts. But I see your point that you didn't just delete them without warning. Thanks for your work maintaining the site over many years.

about 4 months ago

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