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How Sony, Intel, and Unix Made Apple's Mac a PC Competitor

Jesus_666 Re:It doensn't really matter! (289 comments)

When mainboards came with AC’97 that was good enough to deliver high-qualify 5.1 sound people stopped buying sound cards because the onboard sound was on par with them and came free with the mainboard. Plius, we still had the option to go for a sound card if we disliked the onboard sound or if it broke.

When mainboards came with onboard Fast Ethernet people stopped buying discrete NICs because, again, the onboard sound was on par and free. Plus, we still had the optiom to get a discrete NIC or two.

When mainboards came with onboard modems Well, I have no idea; we only got internet in the ISDN age. But, again, discrete modems continued to be available.

But the same things don’t apply to RAM and mass storage. The new MBPs don’t ship with terabyte SSDs for free so for people who expect to store large amounts of data directly on their computer the default offering is not on par. One could choose the BTO option for more storage but Apple’s prices are way above market average and they don’t even offer the choice of an HDD in a new MBP. So people complain because now they get less capability than before with no reasonable upgrade strategy. There would be no complaining if the baseline MBP had a terabyte SSD onboard or if one could pop it open and mount an HDD in there.

Likewise with the soldered-on RAM. Previously one would buy the MBP with the smallest RAM package available and then upgrade with third-party modules because, again, Apple’s prices are ridiculous. Not only that; it was possible to buy the machine and then later upgrade the RAM. This was useful if one didn’t have the money to purchase the machine and the RAM at the same time. No longer possible; RAM is non-upgradable now and if it breaks you have no option besides sending the entire computer in for repairs.

I’m talking about MBPs because they saw a big change recently but the same applies to other Macs. While treating ones computer as a disposable tool might be fine for the average user it’s not acceptable for those of us who do know their stuff. Not quite coincidentally, those are often the people who need a workhorse computer instead of something that can browse the web and play back fullscreen video.

yesterday
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How Sony, Intel, and Unix Made Apple's Mac a PC Competitor

Jesus_666 Re:Disposable... (289 comments)

I used to consider MacBook Pros to be no-brainer purchases. They looked good, had user-serviceable innards (at least those parts you’d reasonably expect a notebook to have) and came with OS X, which I like. These days I still like OS X but I don’t like the machines it comes on.

My next Mac will probably be a Thinkpad. Those things tend to make good Hackintoshes and don’t suffer from an anorexic design department.

yesterday
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'Microsoft Lumia' Will Replace the Nokia Brand

Jesus_666 Re:Recognition (150 comments)

I'm not saying that Windows is going to drop off the market; I just think that it won't be the only choice anymore.

Now if you'll excuse me; Steam just finished downloading Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on my Mac.

3 days ago
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'Microsoft Lumia' Will Replace the Nokia Brand

Jesus_666 Re:Recognition (150 comments)

To be honest, Windows is no longer the big name in gaming platforms, Steam is. And Valve is pushing for game devs to move away from Windows-exclusive games so they can sell their Linux-based Steam Machines. While Linux support isn’t quite common yet it does pop up every now and then and OS X is actually seeing a fair number of high-profile releases.

Right now Windows might hold its dominance in the video game market but whether it’ll still be the obvious choice in a few years is not settled. (For instance, I have no idea what effect Microsoft’s rumored plans for a free baseline Windows with subscription addons would have - depending on how they'd play it it might make Windows more attractive to gamers or it might scare them off. We’ll see.)

4 days ago
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Systemd Adding Its Own Console To Linux Systems

Jesus_666 Re:Slashdot Response (774 comments)

The only issue I see with this being part of systemd is that this probably means you need to run systemd in order to get virtual terminals (because of internal dependencies). This might be bad for small embedded distros that don't want to run the whole systemd stack. Perhaps things like systemd-shim will work, in which case it might not be too painful, but otherwise the distro might have to lug around relatively heavy components in order to get virtual terminals.

As far as I can tell the systemd devs seem to want to optimize Linux for a number of use cases while declaring all use cases that stand to lose as irrelevant. A lot of people are unhappy about this, thus the hate. Well, and their attitude.

about two weeks ago
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Systemd Adding Its Own Console To Linux Systems

Jesus_666 Re:it solves some unicode issues (774 comments)

The basic idea (replacing the old VT code with something new and better) seems fine; the only problem is that it's yet another component that will be integrated with systemd. If the old VT code is completely deprecated in favor of systemd-consoled that means that yet another part of the Linux world has dependencies on systemd.

While that may be fine if you run the kind of system systemd expects, it's problematic if you want to use, say, an embedded system built around uclibc instead of glibc. To my knowledge, systemd still refuses to incorporate libc compatibility patches and thus won't run unless you use their preferred libc flavor. Trying to make your embeddded Linux distro work without systemd will mean that you either have to write and maintain your own console daemon or live without virtual terminals. Or, of course, you can move to glibc and systemd, even if your distro would be better served by lighter alternatives.

I think that the systemd subprojects would be more popular if they were less dependent on each other... and if the developers had less of a "my way of the highway" attitude.

about two weeks ago
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Why Do Contextual Ads Fail?

Jesus_666 Re:yep, timing and related products (249 comments)

On the other hand, Amazon is the king of "you recently bought a new computer so we figured you'd be interesting in buying more new computers. Have some ads". It's baffling how Amazon will send you mails advertising the exact same kind of thing you just bought after you purchased something. Sure, for things like media it kinda makes sense but for other things it really doesn't.

about three weeks ago
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Intel Drops Gamasutra Sponsorship Over Controversial Editorials

Jesus_666 Re:can relate (724 comments)

Wait, someone actually got angry over Free? My anime-savvy friends just shrugged and said: "Hey, fanservice for women." And that was their entire reaction - it's just the kind of blatant fanservice Japan already produces by the truckload aimed at people who find men attractive. News at eleven.

But I guess people can get angry over everything. (Interestingly, as far as Twilight is concerned, I've heard more complaints about how much of an object the protagonist is than about the slightly less two-dimensional guys she deals with.)

about three weeks ago
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Anand Lal Shimpi Retires From AnandTech

Jesus_666 Re:Slightly pro-Intel reviews (152 comments)

That's true. To be honest, my laptop runs on Intel, too. That's a market semgnet Intel is very good at. Still, budget desktop exists and I hope they will continue to keep AMD afloat because I really don't want to see what happens when Intel has x86/amd64 for itself. (Of course Intel probably doesn't want to see that, either; monopolies have this pesky habit of falling under antitrust regulations...)

about 2 months ago
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Anand Lal Shimpi Retires From AnandTech

Jesus_666 Re:Slightly pro-Intel reviews (152 comments)

It's all about target demographics. The last few times I've built desktop PCs I've been on a budget and that's where AMD becomes really interesting. AMD CPUs are usually good enough (especially in gaming rigs where desktop CPU performace has become essentially irrelevant years ago) and can be faster than Intels at the same price point - not because AMD is better but because Intel is more expensive, especially once you factor in that Intel mainboards also tend to have higher prices.

Sure, Intel CPUs are better. But if you don't do heavily CPU-intensive tasks (ie. if you use your computer for generic consumer-type stuff) AMD's ones are adequate and cheap. Intel is great in workstations but most people don't need a workstation. That's why AMD is still alive. It's pretty much the VHS of x86/amd64.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Releases Replacement Patch With Two Known Bugs

Jesus_666 Re:No Patch Info (140 comments)

Well, the IE patches should matter. They might affect the rendering engine, which is used everywhere.

about 2 months ago
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How Patent Trolls Destroy Innovation

Jesus_666 Re:Patent Trolls arent just little companies (97 comments)

You don't automatically deserve for your business to succeed regardless of other commercial factors, and you certainly don't deserve money just for having an idea. Ideas are cheap, it's R&D that costs money.

I never said that I deserve automatic business success. "Reward" and "getting paid" are two different things. I do agree, however, that I expressed myself poorly. Of course the mere idea is not enough to get a patent: At the very least I should supply enough information to make my valve. Still, I shouldn't need to actually produce valves in order to deserve patent protection; after all there are dedicated research entities like CSIRO who do expend significant effort to develop technologies even though they don't develop physical products based on those technologies.

And that is how the patent system is broken, because it directly rewards ideas and not development effort. The positive outcome of the system is just a side-effect of how the system works. The whole system needs refactoring so that it directly achieves the goals above within an ethical framework that acknowledges the value of straightforward hard work over simple ideas. This would mean that a patent troll with nothing more than an idea can't walk all over a company that had the same idea and then spend $10m developing it into a commercial product.

If the non-company actually came up with a working prototype and wrote a patent that explains in detail how to copy it and demonstrably came up with the whole thing first then yes, the non-company deserves the patent. Of course this scenario is utterly unlikely. Still, patents shouldn't be about how much it cost to come up with something; they should be about whether this something advances the state of the art and is described in a precise manner that allows an average worker in the field to reproduce it. If your company spends $10m and mine spends $100k and we independently arrive at the same method of solving a particular problem then your company's claim isn't automatically more valid than mine.

If we could ensure that all granted patents are for things that advance the state of the art in a reproducible manner we'd be much closer to a reasonable system (although there'd still be work left to be done).

about 2 months ago
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How Patent Trolls Destroy Innovation

Jesus_666 Re:Patent Trolls arent just little companies (97 comments)

Patents are not inherently evil. If I get the idea for a new valve design that uses some obscure property of gasoline to make direct injection engines five percent more efficient then I deserve to be rewarded for that. But do I deserve a reward for taking something we already do and adding "via electronic transmission" without even detailing how exactly that transmission would work? Do I deserve a reward for taking the concepts of HTTP redirects and credit card processing and coming up with a redirect to a credit card processing software?

We have a few problems right now that need fundamental changes to how patents work in order to be resolved:

Firstly, there is a flood of patents far too great to allow patent examiners to examine each patent in detail. We can't solve this by adding more examiners; there's no money for that. We can't solve this by allowing an arbitrary backlog; sooner or later we'd get to a point where you'd spend longer for your application to be processed than the patent would last once approved, which would hurt legitimately useful applications. The current solution, just doing less work per patent, just means that more junk patents come through.

Additionally, we don't have enough experts. A patent on "storing a word processor document in a single XML file" (real patent) might not sound obvious to a patent examiner who doesn't have a deep understanding of IT but to an IT professional it's blindingly obvious; after all XML is a universal format and we store all sorts of other documents in XML form already. Still, a patent has been granted for this "innovation", most likely because the patent office can't afford enough IT experts to properly evaluate every IT patent. (Admittedly, the patent is specific enough that one can, with effort, create a non-infringing XML text document format. But it's still obvious.)

Of course it doesn't help that some granted patents are overly generic. Many patents just declare dominion over an idea, sometimes even without providing technical information on how to make the idea actually work. This can be hard to see for the examiner because of the relative dearth of domain experts.

Compounding that is the fact that willful infringement nets harsher punishment. However, if I actually do the research to make sure I don't violate certain patents it becomes reasonable to assume that I know about all relevant patents in the field. If I overlooked some and end up infringing them it becomes difficult to prove that I didn't know about them, costing me more money. Thus, the safest course of action is to never read any patents at all so I can at least claim ignorance. This keeps me open to surprise litigation, of course, and it also perverts the entire point of the patent system: Patents are not there so that someone can control an idea, they are there so that someone provides his idea and technical work to everyone else in exchange for some royalties.


Fixing this mess won't be easy. We need far more experts, more time per patent and fewer patent applications. The former two aren't going to happen because nobody's willing to pay that much money and the latter isn't going to happen as long as obtaining patents is as lucrative as it is today. While I don't think that killing off the entire patent system is the way to go it's easy to see how people come up with the idea.

about 2 months ago
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Plan Would Give Government Virtual Veto Over Internet Governance

Jesus_666 Re:Does it matter? (65 comments)

Well, there are the schenanigans around the .iq domain. While accounts seem to differ it was a bit peculiar that .iq dropped off the root zone right around when the Iraq War happened. (I know that the guy administering the TLD was nasty but he wasn't convicted yet and I'm not sure it's reasonable to shut down a TLD because the Tech-C is being prosecuted.)

"Random people" includes any single government. Jon Postel might have been trustworthy but his government isn't. Not when international politics are involved. No single government or regional bloc truly is. (Neither are all governments combined but at least they'll have a harder time screwing everything up.)

about 2 months ago
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Plan Would Give Government Virtual Veto Over Internet Governance

Jesus_666 Re:Does it matter? (65 comments)

Then again many people outside the USA aren't entirely comfortable with the USA having control over internet governance. Mind you, there are many other countries equally unsuited. The problem is that if one single country has control then one country might decide to use that control to further its own interests. And I don't think that it's a good trade to give all power to one country just to ensure that certain other countries get no power at all.

Of course this is about power shifting towards governments in general. This is to be expected - after all, we can't just have random people running the internet and governments happen to be the very things that represent their countries internationally. I expect ICANN to become something like the ITU: A UN agency that handles infrastructure governance. That does seem to be the safest and fairest option. Do Iran and North Korea get a voice? Yes, they do, just as they should. But that doesn't mean they run the show.

about 2 months ago
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Solid State Drives Break the 50 Cents Per GiB Barrier, OCZ ARC 100 Launched

Jesus_666 Re:Cheaper drives (183 comments)

I like Apple as much as the next guy but their add-on prices are silly. The fact that their hardware tends to be good in general doesn't excuse the fact that they charge twice as much for an upgrade as you'd pay on the open market. This is obvious when looking at RAM where you pay huge markups on modules with identical stats made by the same company.

That's why I don't like their Retina lineup - less customer-serviceability (and parts in more expensive form factors) mean less independence from Apple's horrible add-on prices.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft To Drop Support For Older Versions of Internet Explorer

Jesus_666 Re:Please also stop supporting newer versions. (138 comments)

Well, to my knowledge this attitude is mostly found in non-IT companies. For them their computers are no different from, say, their plumbing. As long as the plumbing works (and there are no other pressing factors like legal requirements) there is no need to replace the pipes with new ones that may be in some way better. IT professionals understand that outdated software can (and often does) pose a security risk but most other people don't.

Of course it would be nice if we could get people educated about that sort of thing. Then the only ones we'd have to worry about would be those who just plain can't upgrade - either because they have custom software or because their job-specific hardware has no drivers for modern Windows versions.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft To Drop Support For Older Versions of Internet Explorer

Jesus_666 Please also stop supporting newer versions. (138 comments)

Seriously; I'd be happy if Microsoft stopped supporting newer versions of IE as well. It's not that IE is a terrible browser per se, it's that Microsoft's policy of only releasing new versions of IE for versions of Windows they still support means that many people out there are stuck using ancient IE versions. This means that web designers often still need to care for things like IE 8 on Windows XP (which, to make things even better, behaves unlike IE 8 on other Windows versions) because that's what some customers use to see if their shiny new website works.

No, those customers aren't going to replace their still-working XP boxes with brand-new computers running Windows 8.1 Upgrade 1 Patch 1 Service Pack 1, especially not to get a browser update. As long as those computers don't physically break down they're going to keep running Windows XP; after all, replacing a working tool is unneccessary cost and businesses don't like unneccessary costs. So IE 8 compatibility remains important, at least for those customers who still use it to look at their websites.

All of that would change if Microsoft wrote IE to support the same platforms Firefox and Chrome do. Firefox 31 runs on XP SP2, as does Chrome 36. So should IE 11. Then we could finally move on from the days of horrible IE-specific hacks and dozens of kilobytes of compatibility code and actually get some work done. As it is, the only recourse we have is to keep telling people to never run IE under any circumstance except to download a better browser; hopefully at some point we will have drilled "IE is always the wrong choice" into people's head hard enough that they will reflexively use a browser with a sane update policy and IE will be marginalized enough to be irrelevant.

Which would be sad; more competition in the browser market would be good. But not through an obsolescence factory like IE.

about 3 months ago
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Xiaomi Arrives As Top Smartphone Seller In China

Jesus_666 Re:Yeah yeah (82 comments)

Well, I can believe in Xiaomi winning on quality. Their phones are quite powerful, yet reasonably priced. I have a coworker who swears by the brand and from what I've seen I definitely like his Mi2 better than my Galaxy S3. Are they the alpha and omega of phone development? Definitely not. But they certainly are a welcome addition to the high-end smartphone market.

Well, they're better than Samsung, which admittedly isn't terribly difficult.

about 3 months ago
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Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

Jesus_666 Re:Nerd Blackface (442 comments)

Well, I wouldn't call it great. Sheldon is an exaggerated stereotype, same as 90% of all TV characters. It's easy to read people's behavior into him because, well, he is an exaggeration of those behaviors. It's just a TV character, written to be easily recognizable. Nothing too great, nothing too horrible. He reflects certain behaviors and attitudes commonly associated with nerds so the writers did their jobs right.

Now, I still don't watch the show but that's because every time people have tried to hook me on it I watched an episode and never laughed. The show's brand of humor just isn't mine and I don't find the main characters very likable. It's a matter of taste, though, and I recognize that many people find the show very entertaining. (Hell, The Middleman got canceled before they had time to shoot the first season's final episode and I consider that show to be among the best live-action entertainment produced in the last decade. My tastes certainly don't align with those of the people who actually count.)

about 3 months ago

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