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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Just Brew It! FTDI overstepped their authority, but... (536 comments)

They seem to be the only vendor of USB serial chips whose products seem to "just work" under the majority of use cases, on both Windows and Linux. Every time I have had a weird USB serial problem (on either OS), the solution has been to get a FTDI-based device. Problem solved.

If 3rd party vendors are illegally appropriating their IP, then they can go after those vendors in court. I also have no problem with them rigging their driver so that it does not work with "clone" products. But intentionally damaging devices they do not own steps over the line.

I do not think a boycott is the answer. Yes, they made a mistake with this driver update; but do you really want to (potentially) drive the designer of the best existing USB serial chip out of business? If we go that route, everyone loses.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: Linux-Friendly Desktop x86 Motherboard Manufacturers?

Just Brew It! Re:Not sure why Asus is out (294 comments)

I've been using Asus almost exclusively for roughly a decade. My initial reason for doing so was the fact that they continued to support ECC on their consumer AMD motherboards while other vendors did not.

Linux compatibility out-of-box has been so-so, but all issues I've encountered have been solvable. Ubuntu 10.04 had problems with the NIC, audio, and temperature/fan monitoring on the Asus M5A97 EVO; all issues were addressed via use of out-of-tree drivers, and with 12.04/14.04 everything "just works". Getting Linux to boot from a software RAID-1 array on the Asus M5A97 R2.0 was a pretty major PITA, but some of that came down to my own lack of familiarity with UEFI and GPT.

The fact that AMD hasn't released a new chipset for Socket AM3+ in a very long time actually has a silver lining for Linux users -- it means their chipset driver support in current distros is mature and stable.

I have no first-hand info about their Intel boards either, as I haven't built an Intel-based system since the age of the dinosaurs. A former co-worker built an Intel-based Debian system on an Asus motherboard a couple of years ago though, and I don't recall him having any real issues aside from the same audio codec problem I hit with the M5A97 EVO and Ubuntu 10.04.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Takes Down No-IP.com Domains

Just Brew It! Incredibly heavy-handed (495 comments)

Hmm... Microsoft behaving like a spastic bull in a china shop? Who would've thought it was possible...

All well and good that they're trying to fight the good fight against malware; but taking out millions of legitimate users as collateral damage is simply unacceptable. Somebody really botched this operation. I hope there's some sort of accountability (but I'm not going to hold my breath).

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Way to Learn C# For Game Programming?

Just Brew It! C#? (254 comments)

While C# may get you ahead in the business world, IMO you really need to go with something more OS-agnostic unless you're OK with limiting yourself to MS platforms. C++ (or Java... maybe) and OpenGL are the way to go IMO.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

Just Brew It! Re:My condolences... and some other thoughts (552 comments)

That's tough. If it is months, or even (a small number of) years, then there's hope. If it is on the bad side of "if ever" then the question needs to be asked: how likely is it that technology will be capable of giving her a quality of life that she is willing to accept? I have no idea what the legal ramifications are, but since she is obviously conscious and aware, in a sane world her wishes -- based on the best information available -- should take priority over all else.

about 5 months ago
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Goodbye, Ctrl-S

Just Brew It! Re:Auto-save is NOT your friend (521 comments)

If the undo/redo history is reliably saved, then yes I agree. But if the application is crashing often enough that you care about this, do you trust the undo/redo history to get saved properly along with the document?

about 5 months ago
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Goodbye, Ctrl-S

Just Brew It! Re:What C-s? (521 comments)

Yeah, that was my initial thought too. But I've already come to terms with the fact that I'm ancient, so it didn't really bother me! ;-)

about 5 months ago
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Goodbye, Ctrl-S

Just Brew It! Re:Auto-save is NOT your friend (521 comments)

Agreed. Definitely a case of "please do what I asked for, not what you think I wanted". A properly implemented auto-save feature does not overwrite the original document; it saves a secondary copy, to be used only if the system crashes and you need to recover your edits.

about 5 months ago
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Goodbye, Ctrl-S

Just Brew It! Back in *my* day... (521 comments)

...control-S (XOFF) was used to pause the scrolling on a "dumb" CRT terminal. I don't think I have ever used it to save a document.

Systems I care about (i.e. anything I use for "real work") are on UPSes. If the hardware or software is unstable enough that it crashes unexpectedly more often than once every couple of months (give or take), I fix/replace the hardware or start looking for alternative software to accomplish the same task.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

Just Brew It! My condolences... and some other thoughts (552 comments)

First of all, my condolences. That is a terrible, terrible thing to have happen. I feel especially bad for your sister-in-law, as this is pretty much a worst-case scenario -- conscious and aware, but unable to do anything. The mere thought of being in that kind of state terrifies me.

The brain is quite resilient. Your idea of some sort of brainwave device may actually have some merit; the "biofeedback" craze of the 1970s and '80s demonstrated that you can train yourself to modify your own brainwaves (and other "involuntary" bodily functions), and people have been working on brainwave-based control devices ever since. I'm not sure what's currently out there, but perhaps a creative combination of off-the-shelf sensors and some hacked-together interfaces to a laptop or Raspberry Pi type device could yield some useful results.

If you don't mind telling, what is her prognosis for recovery? Is this believed to be a temporary, or (shudder) long-term/permanent condition? This will certainly affect how you will want to proceed.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell a Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure?

Just Brew It! Management cares about the bottom line (192 comments)

If you're primarily focused on meeting the letter of "service level agreements", IMO you've already entered what I'll call "metrics hell" -- a desolate realm where meeting some (more likely than not) ill-conceived measure of "performance" takes precedence over actually helping your users get their jobs done more efficiently. Closing helpdesk tickets within some predefined timeframe is meaningless in the grand scheme of things if you haven't actually solved the users' problems.

about 5 months ago
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Intentional Backdoor In Consumer Routers Found

Just Brew It! Re:Another day, another hole... (236 comments)

Noise and size aren't an issue, as it is in the crawlspace. Out of sight, out of mind... quite literally! All maintenance is done over the network.

All kinds of crap has gotten piled in front of it since I set it up; I haven't needed physical access to the box in over 3 years. When I eventually do need to get at it (which, at this rate, probably won't be until Ubuntu Server 10.04 goes EOL in about a year) I will need to un-bury it first!

I hear you on the Realtek NICs too. While their poor reputation was indeed deserved in the past, they seem to have gotten a lot better over the past few years. I don't know if they have fixed bugs in their silicon, or if recent drivers have implemented workarounds; but whatever the reason, they seem to work reasonably well now.

about 6 months ago
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Intentional Backdoor In Consumer Routers Found

Just Brew It! Another day, another hole... (236 comments)

It is crap like this, and the abysmally unreliable hardware most consumer routers seem to be based on, that has convinced me not to buy consumer routers any more. Been using an old PC (running a copy of Ubuntu Server booted from a CF card) as my router for several years now.

Yeah, I know the power consumption of an old PC sucks compared to a consumer router. But after going through 3 routers in something like 5 years I was sick of dealing with that crap. The PC-based router is way more stable and reliable.

about 6 months ago
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How 'DevOps' Is Killing the Developer

Just Brew It! This really resonates for me! (226 comments)

The phrase "technology utility player" almost perfectly describes my current role. My official job title is "Principal Software Engineer". However, I spend less than half of my time doing actual software development. I am also responsible for maintaining the Linux side of our infrastructure (it is a mixed Windows/Linux environment and IT only manages the Windows side); occasionally get pressed into service debugging low-level hardware issues in prototypes of custom boards and cables; and until fairly recently was being shipped all over the country on short notice to support product demos.

TBH I actually enjoy this kind of role, except for one aspect: I don't think management understands that everything takes longer because I am juggling so many different things. All they really see is that Project X, which was supposed to take 80 hours, takes a month or more of calendar time. Or that infrastructure issue Y goes unresolved for weeks because it isn't an emergency (yet) and never floats to the top of the priority list.

There used to be two of us "utility player" software guys here. The other one quit a few months ago, and we were not able to find a replacement with the same mix of skills. This has definitely lengthened the list of things I need to juggle.

about 6 months ago
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Not Just Apple: GnuTLS Bug Means Security Flaw For Major Linux Distros

Just Brew It! March != April (144 comments)

Looks like someone can't tell the difference between "March" and "April". Hint: "April" is the one that starts with an "A".

The major distros posted patches for this flaw to their repositories within a day or two of it being made public. (Not to say that it isn't embarrassing for stuff like this to make it into the codebase; but at least it was fixed quickly once it was discovered.)

about 7 months ago
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Western Digital 'MyCloud' Is Down 5 Days and Counting

Just Brew It! Incidents like this will only become more common (127 comments)

When you let someone else manage your data, you no longer control your data. That's the biggest flaw with the current "race to the cloud".

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

Just Brew It! Re:Use older version.. (266 comments)

Huh. Confirmed. I had always assumed that the normal update process would bring you up to the latest point release within an LTS series. So I learned something today. OP could still install an older point release like 12.04.2 though. All 12.04.x releases are supported until 2017 AFAIK.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

Just Brew It! Re:Use older version.. (266 comments)

You sure about that? The package currently installed on my system appears to match the latest one in the Ubuntu repository for precise.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Handle Unfixed Linux Accessibility Bugs?

Just Brew It! Re:Use older version.. (266 comments)

Well, something doesn't add up then. The OP states the bug was introduced in 1.13.1, yet my copy of Ubuntu 12.04 (which is current on patches) is running 1.11.3.

about 7 months ago
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Yahoo May Build Its Own YouTube

Just Brew It! Riiight... (162 comments)

If their recent redesign of YahooGroups is any indication, this will be a massive train wreck. The overhaul of YahooGroups was definitely a case of "fixing" something that wasn't broken. I admin three long-standing fora on YahooGroups (one even dates all the way back to before the eGroups acquisition) and plan to migrate all of them off of their system. Randomly dropped members, members who want to be removed but can't be, and other stupid shit.

Replacement will be a hosted solution of my choosing, on a server I have more control over. I've had enough.

about 7 months ago

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