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How Microsoft Can Lock Linux Off Windows 8 PCs

Orbijx Re:I have trouble seeing this work well. (899 comments)

What the boat that means is this:
[1] http://www.idema.org/?page_id=98

XP, as an OS, natively does not know how to write properly to an AF drive [1], but when set with the right drivers (those pesky Intel RST drivers for machines using the Intel controller for HDDs) and then aligned, will work as normal on said machines.

It's always my job to field technical queries from customers as a phone support agent, no matter how obtuse the question may seem. Otherwise, I wouldn't, well... have a job. :)
The OEM I work for, incidentally, includes a sheet of paper with information about the drives, which if I remember right, is white and orange to get the recipient's attention.
The paper even includes a rather helpful, rather descriptive link to the online support documentation that covers the whole procedure in detail.
The problem, as has been demonstrated time and again across the internet, is that people don't read instructions before they go hammering away at something.
Therefore, I'll get a call or two per week from someone who just shoved XP onto an AF drive, and has run into either stop errors (0x7B = Make the damn RST driver available to XP's installer. Known issue for four years now!) or very sluggish performance (XP's issue stems from it treating 4k blocks as 512b blocks, and pooching the alignment without its medicatio^Wdrivers).

more than 3 years ago

How Microsoft Can Lock Linux Off Windows 8 PCs

Orbijx Re:I have trouble seeing this work well. (899 comments)

Hate them if you want, but Vista, 7, and most modern Linux flavors don't have the AF problems.
XP /does/.
The hardware industry wants to ship higher capacity hard drives at a better cost, especially for portable machines using 2.5" drives.
The solution for them is, at least in part, to stop using 512b blocks and start using 4k blocks.
Then, and only then, will we hopefully see mobile workstations using platter based drives that exceed 1 terabyte of storage.

Because I speak to these types of people for a living, I can already see two usage cases for it:
* The aforementioned mobile workstations with a pair of hard drives, with the machine set to RAID 1, and each drive actually providing more than a terabyte of storage.
* The more likely scenario: Desktops that use the 2.5" form factor drives instead of the larger 3.5" drives.

If memory serves me well, 2.5" hard drives tend to be more energy efficient than the 3.5" drives, as there's less material going into its manufacturing, fewer platters to spin, fewer heads to move with a motor arm, and less metal to spin, therefore a less powerful motor needed to get the drive spinning up to speed.

Right now, though, you're most likely going to be exempt from AF drives if you purchase 3.5" drives, since those are already available in 'huge' sizes (3 terabytes, versus the 1 terabyte that the smaller drives have available).

Last, most of the AF drives are being marked with a notice that they're AF, either on the retailer's site, or with an AF notification enclosed in the box with the drive, to make it easy to identify and to buy/avoid buying one.

more than 3 years ago

How Microsoft Can Lock Linux Off Windows 8 PCs

Orbijx Re:What an over sensationalist title (899 comments)

Think back a few years, when Dell briefly offered Linux-ready PCs.

Dell still offers Linux-ready PCs.
They have them buried in their Enterprise listing, to keep Home users from easily seeing one and buying it, then complaining that they can't run <insert game here> or Microsoft Office 2010 as is their wont, and returning it.
Any N-series Optiplex ships without Windows, and usually has FreeDOS as its OS offering.
Any N-series Precision Workstation usually gets to choose between FreeDOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The statement about machines shipping with Windows being cheaper than without it is still true.
I configured a pair of Optiplex 990s a little earlier, and the machine with Win7 Professional, 64-bit was about $300 cheaper than the machine with FreeDOS, with as much hardware matching as I could do.
I even added on the completecare warranty to the Windows machine to try closing the gap, which just didn't do enough justice.

more than 3 years ago

How Microsoft Can Lock Linux Off Windows 8 PCs

Orbijx I have trouble seeing this work well. (899 comments)

Pardon me as I ramble.

As a guy in the phone support trenches for a certain OEM, I just have trouble seeing this work well for everyone.
I see often enough that businesses will buy a brand new machine with Windows 7 pre-installed, then blow away the OS load to immediately try to install Windows XP.

I have a hard enough time trying to teach these people that they NEED to include the Intel RST driver bundle in their image so that they stop getting STOP: 0x7B on their attempt to install or boot.
I have a hard enough time trying to teach these people that they need to make sure their image is aligned on the new Advanced Format hard drives that are going in some of the smaller form factor machines (usually it's a 2.5" drive), since they want to install XP on the damn thing, then complain a week later that the machine is very slow and almost unusable.

I don't speak to customers too often that aren't running some flavor of Windows, but the few I do run into seem happy when they get someone who understands the issue they've got, and will help them despite this OEM's general policy of not assisting with an OS that the OEM did not ship. These calls are usually large corporations that run Red Hat or SUSE or something else in their corporate environment, and prefer to pay for hardware support from the OEM I work for, just so they can have coverage for all of their users in nearly any country they visit.

Keeping that last bit in mind: An OEM that implements a lockout 'feature' that prevents an operating system other than Windows 8 from being installed had better have a backup plan that keeps businesses happy, or else they've just committed suicide. It's business sales, more so than consumer sales that keep OEMs going, because businesses buy big damn contracts. Piss off the big damn contracts, and you piss off your paycheck.

more than 3 years ago

The Man At Microsoft Charged With Destroying IE6

Orbijx Re:EOL XP already... (458 comments)

I don't particularly see much wrong with the current control panel in Windows 7, but if you really need to see absolutely buttf***-ALL EVERYTHING in there, then create your own folder or folders with a little of everything or BFA EVERYTHING in the control panel in one spot.

http://clubhouse.microsoft.com/Public/Post/16246d0f-c698-4a64-9757-925cc166d393 gives more detail, but for the tl;dr crowd:
Create new folder.
Name folder: Witty Folder Name Here.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}
Open Folder.
Holy crap, everything + 20 is in here.

more than 4 years ago

The Man At Microsoft Charged With Destroying IE6

Orbijx A supplemental tip: (458 comments)

10. I can't seem to be able to "right click" on a taskbar item and select move to bring it back on screen if it happens to be off.

- As already mentioned, hold down shift. There are lots of cool ctrl- and shift- options available throughout the UI. And there are plenty of resources for finding them. Heck, head over to LifeHacker.com and search for Win7 tips and tricks... some very good resources there. There's no need to sit in ignorance and be frustrated.

Or, the user could just hold down the Windows key (that's Super (thanks for asking) for those of us coming from other worlds) and just use the arrow keys on the keyboard to walk a window back onto the display.
Up: Restore/Maximize
Down: Restore/Minimize
Left: Tile Horizontally, Maximize Vertically, snap to left side
Right: Tile Horizontally, Maximize Vertically, snap to right side

It's great for walking a window from one display to another when you're using a multi-monitor display and don't want to deal with dragging between windows.

more than 4 years ago

Twitter To Block Third-Party Paid Tweets

Orbijx Re:I don't know why (83 comments)

Short and curlies translation of the newspeak for the rest of us:

If you're an advertiser, pay us to use our service so that you can use our users as your advertising mouthpiece. In the end, you're probably going to get paid by people buying your crap, so we want our share up front.

If you're a user, you can manually type in an ad for something if you want. We can't tell you what not to type, as long as it stays within a reasonable guideline (don't talk about diddling your granddaughter, old man). You just can't let an advertiser insert crap into your tweets through an automated/scripted method.

To touch base on the other questions, AC:
'paid tweet' is where a user goes to a service that offers to give them money in exchange for letting that service post an advertisement of some sort in their timeline (getting to that in a moment).
If you remember your blogging history, about 4 years ago, there was a row with paid blogging posts. ie: company pays a person after thirty days for posting an advertisement in their weblog. The biggest name in that deal at the time was PayPerPost*.
The thing was, PayPerPost blog posts were manually entered.
The paid tweets mentioned are usually automated (user connects to advertiser via OAuth service and gives permission for that service to write to their timeline), and either selected at random, or by fitting a demographic such as number of followers, location, number of tweets per week, how often you're blocked according to a 3rd party service such as TwitBlock...

'timeline' is easily thought of as a history of posts. To corrolate this to familiar sources, Slashdot's homepage can be thought of as a timeline.

'ecosystem' is just a fancy way of saying 'our service'.

(* Note: I once was a PayPerPost Postie, and have done the sponsored blogging bit. It paid rather well (read: over $1200 in a year just posting odd posts here and there) then.)

more than 4 years ago

Microsoft Kills Support For XP SP2

Orbijx Re:So what? (315 comments)

Microsoft themselves give you the mechanism to slipstream service packs into your media. nLite and other applications just make the process easier for a first timer (so instead of manually expanding, copying, and creating the ISO, it's done for you), or a busy admin.

Granted, I can imagine them saying "Here's the tool to make your administration jobs easier. However, if you use it, we're going to send you to Pound You In the Ass Prison", but I don't particularly think that's likely, since it's an option administrators have had since Windows 2000.

My Win2000 and XP discs were stamped this way, but the mechanism for editing and modifying discs have been made available to anyone willing and patient enough to go through the steps by Microsoft themselves. You can create a disc for the purpose of legally installing the operating system and its patches.

(On a personal note, I honestly think they'd want you to do it, too, so that it might lower the chance of another machine with their OS freshly installed on it becoming a 14 second zombie.)

more than 4 years ago

Mozilla Reveals Firefox 4 Plans

Orbijx Re:Firefox is the most unstable program in common (570 comments)

Firefox on Windows 7, 32-bit, is leading me to dabble in alternate browsers again.
It's actually getting to be so aggravating that I would actually consider reinstalling Internet Explorer.

I hibernate my system each day when I leave for work, simply because I'm gone for up to 12 hours a day. It makes no sense to leave a machine with a 300w power supply on for half a day when I can't use it. Important-to-me stuff that I can't have shut off was relegated to a 30w machine that sits in the living room.

After a couple of days of such behavior, Firefox has blimped up to 500 MB of memory in use, and I only have about 12 tabs open, usually to image intense pages, and not flash!

I tend to watch a couple of stupid vids here and there, watch someone draw through one of the streaming video sites, check email, and peruse a couple of sites with artistic communities of varying skill levels and styles. Other than that, I'm not doing much in the browser itself.

The fact that closing the browser takes minutes, instead of seconds, is already an annoyance. Reopening is just as bad, since it's reopening the tabs I had loaded earlier.

I don't have toolbars loaded. I only use a few plugins, of which the notorious Adobe Cra^WFlash is one (blip.fm, youtu.be need them for my usage).
My addons use is relatively minimal, compared to the number of addons there are.

Every few months, because it just drives me insane, I uninstall the current version of Firefox, nuke the profile, and just run a clean install. I get some speed back.
I run vacuumplaces extension regularly to try to keep it stable... but this is the most high maintenance, buggy piece of junk I've ever run.

Sadly, because of a few specific things I need that I haven't found out how to replicate in another browser, I'm stuck with Firefox.

(Give me a working alternative to DownThemAll!, and I might be able to survive.)

more than 4 years ago

Next Ubuntu Linux To Be a Maverick

Orbijx Re:Maverick Meerkat? Meh... (319 comments)

... I facepalmed as soon as I read that (metal plate in wrist brace to forehead OW).

I'm also afraid to click on the first link more than I am the second while I'm sitting at work, for fear of grotesque Mammalian Mammaries.

more than 4 years ago

Russian Company Buys ICQ

Orbijx DST has holdings in Zynga... (136 comments)

... so the real reason behind the purchase is to incorporate ICQ into junk like Mafia Wars, and all the other FACEB00C games that they control, and use it as an off FACEB00C's record communications device to take over Mafia World. ... or something like that.

Uh-oh!, indeed.

Time to deactivate my UIN.

more than 4 years ago

Win7 Can Delete All System Restore Points On Reboot

Orbijx Re:Yeah (449 comments)

If you're into pain, there is a use for system restore.

Having worked with small business customers who can't afford to go the nuke and pave route when Windows XP manages to shit the registry hive, you learn how to get around things, and then teach an important lesson.
I've started those phone conversations with suggesting to mount the drive via an external device, but some do not have one immediately available.
Those conversations turn to "Take a bathroom break and get a cup of coffee now. We're going to be at it for an hour."
I'll walk them through the steps to attempt to recover the registry hive, which depends on a restore point being there.

If that fails, I tell them two things. Get an enclosure to mount the drive and back up their stuff because they have no choice, and for the love of dog, next time, BACK UP THEIR STUFF.
If it works, then I have 'em back stuff up, explain that they'll want to reinstall the OS if any complications arise. If they don't have a backup solution, then I'd be glad to help them pick one out.

more than 4 years ago

Japan To Launch Solar Sail Spacecraft "Ikaros"

Orbijx Minmatar Frigate, anyone? (138 comments)

I'm surprised that there hasn't been a single EVE reference to this project yet.

Soon as I saw this project, I thought, "It's like they're developing a Minmatar frigate of some sort!"

With that in mind, I genuinely hope that this project exceeds expectations, and that we may see more projects like this in our near future. Good luck and best wishes.

more than 4 years ago

Sony Can Update PS3 Firmware Without Permission

Orbijx Re:Huh? (700 comments)

Uh, correct me when I'm wrong as I don't use the thing, but don't some Blu-Ray discs require a network connection to allow playback?

And, if so, I'd assume to get the Blu-Ray updates, you have to have access to PSN, which means getting banned from PSN would be counterproductive to play Blu-Ray on a purchased device.

I'd research, but the corporate firewall is set to particularly brutal levels today.

more than 4 years ago

McAfee Kills SVCHost.exe, Sets Off Reboot Loops For Win XP, Win 2000

Orbijx Too bad it wasn't ClamAV this time. (472 comments)

I bet that after seeing what McAfee can do when it screws up, they won't bitch about what ClamAV did.

(for those who need the summary: ClamAV pulled an update that caused it to shut itself down if it was version 0.94 or older after announcing ~6 months in advance that people needed to update, and kept filling log files with warnings to update. McAfee is breaking a Windows component that causes the entire computer to not function, with a less obvious warning, left for the reader to figure out. The hint is the first word in the previous sentence.)

more than 4 years ago

Warner Bros. Acquires Turbine

Orbijx Re:There goes the neighborhood (57 comments)

Except that, if memory serves me, DDO started as pay to play, and ended up as a micropayment game because it wasn't enough of a cash cow with subscriptions.
Why break what works?

more than 4 years ago

Crytek Thinks Free Game Demos Will Soon Be Extinct

Orbijx SEGA. Nintendo. Etc. (379 comments)

I think that the secret grumblings going on is that these developers are wishing for a time when the Sega Master System and the Nintendo Entertainment System roamed the earth.

You didn't really get demos of games for these, free for downloading at the time they were popular.

( - This ignores, of course, the Nintendo Play Choice 10 machines, and any Sega equivalent of the time, in which I'm sure plenty of us of the respective age range would beg mom for quarters to feed whilst she did whatever she was out and about to do. It was great, because one would feed a machine quarters, play games, and when one gets home, beg dad to buy Track and Field or Contra, or whatever. PC10s were, effectively, paid demo machines that would give you access to the full game for the right amount of dosh and skill!
It also ignores the people who had dumpers and carts to dump their old games onto, or necessary emulation software to play it on a PC.)

more than 4 years ago

Finland To Try Scanning Snail Mail

Orbijx Re:1 day ago (152 comments)

A derp-a-derp-derp.
Would help if I actually linked what I discovered.

From TFA, I followed a link over to a blog at the Telegraph that contained links to the Netposti interface (link set to english. På svenska, Suomeksi are options for .fi, .se).

What shows up after logging in, I have to leave to someone who actually has a login for the service. It'd be an expensive, expensive trip overseas just for me to get an answer (passport, plane, time off from work, sedatives, rental vehicle, ...), so I'll leave it to someone who might just be able to walk down the road and get set up.

more than 4 years ago

Finland To Try Scanning Snail Mail

Orbijx Re:1 day ago (152 comments)

Doesn't seem so. Following a few links through the article, they genuinely appear to have a site set up for receiving digital mail.

Requires either a user/pass set, or a (government issued? possibly as part of the ID?) smartcard read by the site to get logged in.

I'm nowhere near there, so I lack a user/pass or ID for login, but it seems to be legit.

more than 4 years ago

Slashdot Discussions Now Include Roulette Video Chat

Orbijx Looks like I'll be back tomorrow, then. (192 comments)

Yeah... call center full of geeks reading /. because we can't get anywhere else online, and now there's video being loaded. I'm sure that IT will filter us in the face shortly, and come slap us with rulers for watching not-work-related video with company bandwidth. =|

more than 4 years ago


Orbijx hasn't submitted any stories.




Orbijx Orbijx writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Hooray. It's 01-02-2010.
Without abbreviation, the date's rather palindromic. :)

Silly, I know, but I get excited over stupid stuff.
And yes, I write my dates in ddmmyyyy format normally. :P



Orbijx Orbijx writes  |  more than 7 years ago Huh. Wish I could've remembered my older account and its password. I think I registered it so long ago that the domain I used to have fell into the sea somewhere. Oh, well.

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