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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

W2k Re:Good ol' corporate speak (2219 comments)

People complained loudly to Microsoft regarding the all-caps of Visual Studio 2012/13 and Office 2013 during their pre-releases. What happened? They remained there, shouting back at the user in the finals.

Not strictly true. They added an option to turn off all-caps. It's a simple registry setting and the first hit on Google.

about a year ago

Google Demands Microsoft Pull YouTube App For WP8

W2k Re:And the day comes when... (716 comments)

I so wish I had mod points right now. This should be at +9.

about a year and a half ago

Preparing For Life After the PC

W2k Re:Meh ... (636 comments)

Userbase? Sure. Money? Um, go spec up a 3D graphics workstation and see what those things cost. You don't need a billion customers to turn a profit selling that kind of gear.

more than 2 years ago

UN Wades Into Patent War Mess

W2k My humble suggestion for a solution (178 comments)

1) All patents expire after 2 years. If you can't make money from having a 2-year monopoly on an invention, it obviously wasn't very good anyway. 2) Getting a patent costs a €LARGE_AMOUNT of money, which goes into a fund that the government uses to invest into research. 3) No sales bans. The only penatly for "violating" a patent is compensation for actual damages, the burden of proof for which lie on the patent holder. 4) If out of a random sample of five university students in the appropriate field, at least three find your idea obvious and/or trivial to come up with, your patent is rejected. 5) (Very) generous exemptions from the all of the above for non-profits, educational users and independent (non-corporate) inventors.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Most Secure Mobile OS?

W2k Re:The Most Secure Mobile OS (291 comments)

E-mail uses push notifications, you make it sound like it's on a 30 minute polling interval but that's simply not the case - it's nearly instant, certainly every bit as fast as on Android. Twitter does the same thing. Just read the documentation if you don't want to take my word for it. Using polling for any kind of instant messaging is not something you want to do since it's massively inefficient, much better to let the server tell you when there's something new to fetch.

As for porting, what you are describing is the same on every platform. You have an iOS app and want to port it to Android? Better brush up on those Java skills because your ObjC is worthless there. You can theoretically use C/C++ as a lowest common denominator between the two but almost nobody does that except possibly for some very core functionality and then you have to write a ton of platform-specific wrappers for the device-dependent stuff anyway. Oh and the UI, which is probably the most time-consuming single part of your app if you want to get it right.

I will give you this - being the minority platform, WP7 certainly stands more to lose from not sharing a common language with Android/iOS than the other way around. I don't really want WP7 apps that are just least-effort ports of Android apps though, and if you're as concerned about battery life as you say then you should find the thought of porting over a big fat VM just to run a few more apps abhorrent. It's not like porting is that hard, and unlike Android, WP7 is actually fun to code for. I've put one app on the market already and am working on a second. Never could muster up the energy to do that for Android, well not on my spare time anyway, there's just too much pomp and ceremony required to get anything done. I do code for Android at work though, since they're paying me well to put up with it. :)

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Most Secure Mobile OS?

W2k Re:The Most Secure Mobile OS (291 comments)

Strange, I seem to have no trouble receiving mail while I'm doing other things on my WP7. Perhaps because the "extremely limited means" are actually quite sufficient. I believe limiting multitasking a bit is a tradeoff for better battery life, and that's certainly fine by me. Apps like navigation and music players (Spotify, Nokia Music) seem to have no trouble whatsoever with me switching to a different app and back. The web browser dutifully remembers which tabs I had open. So no, not a big deal at all. The Skype limitation I believe is a beta issue.

C/C++ support is probably coming eventually but - are you kidding me? Lack of a Java runtime an impediment? C# is by far a nicer language to program in, and is instantly accessible to any Java developer (being basically Java++ by design). Lack of Java support doesn't seem to have particularly hurt Apple in their quest for global mobile domination. The only possible use I can see for Java on WP7 would be to make porting of Android apps easier but they would feel right out of place on WP7 anyway since it has a very different UI.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Most Secure Mobile OS?

W2k Re:The Most Secure Mobile OS (291 comments)

Not really true anymore. I've had a Lumia 800 since november and the only two things I'm really missing now is a native app for Google+ (though the mobile web version works fine) and something that can talk to the OBD2 Bluetooth dongle I have for my car. Not exactly your Angry Birds of smartphone apps. Also, a lot of the WP7 apps feel more polished than their Android versions. The Facebook app for instance.

more than 2 years ago

Giant Paper Airplane Takes (Brief) Flight Over Arizona

W2k Re:Feet, foot, inch? (54 comments)

Maybe this varies from country to country, but here in Sweden, the decimeter, deciliter, centimeter and centiliter, hectogram (typically just called "hecto" for short) are used very frequently and you would have a hard time finding anyone over the age of 7 who doesn't have an intuitive understanding of them.

However, we pretty much never use "deca" and "hectoliter" is very rare, though most people know what they are.

more than 2 years ago

Former Nokia Exec: Windows Phone Strategy Doomed

W2k Written by the captain of the losing team (447 comments)

This article stinks on so many levels. It is well-known that Nokia had an internal war going on for years around the Symbian platform, resulting in, among other things, the well-designed but effectively DOA Nokia N9 which in effect became the prototype for the Lumia 800. Maybe Meego would have gone on to be a market-leading platform, but it got buried by politics. Clearly this guy was on the losing team and now he's trying to use whatever authority he still thinks he has to trash-talk Nokia.

Yet the very first comment on his blog post is proof that Nokia is far from dead. No, market share for Windows Phone 7 isn't that great, but it's obviously growing at a rapid rate, and even if it never passes Android or iOS - there's plenty of room in the market for a third player. Blackberry was it for years until they shit the bed.

What the world most certainly doesn't need is yet another Android phone manufacturer. We already have more than enough. Microsoft had the cash that Nokia needed and an OS that, while not perfect, is certainly a differentiator. Couple this with Nokia's design sense and you get a phone which stands out in the sea of blandness (and the fact that the Lumia 800 alone now accounts for something like 85% of all WinPhone7 sales in the EU is evidence of this).

I don't want to go too much into subjective opinion here, but my own experiences with the Lumia 800 is that it is a damn good phone and a pleasure to develop for. It performs much better than its meager specs would suggest. It is certainly proving popular in my circle of friends, almost all of which owned high-end Android phones before. Thanks to the apparent ease of porting stuff from Xbox, there is a ton of great games for it. And it's being marketed VERY competently - certainly better than any Android phone I've seen except possibly Samsung's. I have a very hard time believing it will flop.

However - and this is important - even if I'm wrong, Microsoft can easily afford not to have Windows Phone 7 be an instant success. They are swimming in money. And so can Nokia, because they are feeding off Microsoft. It's happened before with the Xbox, the same Xbox that got laughed at and is now making enough money that Microsoft can afford to keep going at the smartphone business until they succeed.

more than 2 years ago

An Open Letter To PC Makers: Ditch Bloatware, Now!

W2k Re:One Word: (609 comments)

Quite the opposite. Macs ship with the biggest piece of bloatware there is, and it's quite hard to get rid of. It's called Mac OS X.

more than 3 years ago

PC Gaming Alliance's New President Talks DRM, System Requirements

W2k Re:Pc gaming = Too hard (163 comments)

Try something like Steam where buying and installing a game is something like four clicks (one to select the game, one to click install, one to confirm the payment information and one to start the game). They have quite a few "classic" games as well, updated to run on the latest version of Windows with sound and graphics.

about 4 years ago

Steve Jobs Taking Medical Leave of Absence

W2k Re:Fucking stupid (471 comments)

The grandparent was making a claim ("Does anyone really like Microsoft, other than those who swear by their products and services? I really doubt it.") trivially disproved by example, so I thought an anecdote appropriate. I have never doubted that there exists people who really don't use Windows at all - in fact I know some of those as well, but this was not relevant to my point, which was solely to point out that there are, in fact, computer geeks who use Windows by choice.

about 4 years ago

Steve Jobs Taking Medical Leave of Absence

W2k Re:Fucking stupid (471 comments)

Does anyone really like Microsoft, other than those who swear by their products and services? I really doubt it. Most users just seem to be forced to put up with it and are either ignorant of other options or afraid of trying something unfamiliar.

I have used Linux, BSD, MacOS (X) and Solaris but my home computers (laptop, gaming PC, two servers) all run Windows, because it gets things done and I haven't had a BSOD or a serious issue with it for years. Finding drivers or apps is never a problem because everyone develops for Windows first, Mac OS X second, Linux probably never or perhaps a distant third.

Being a geek most of my friends are as well and Windows is still by far the most common OS on their home PCs. One guy bought a shiny MBP and promptly installed Windows on it. Pretty much everyone who runs Linux dual-boots with Windows. So yes, when given a choice, even very computer-literate people will freely choose Windows. Because it gets things done, doesn't crash and has drivers for everything. Simple as that.

My phone runs Android, though.

about 4 years ago

Pay-Per-View Journalism Is Burning Out Reporters Young

W2k Re:Welcome to the Digital Age! (227 comments)

You chose to wear that leash, don't complain if it doesn't fit.

I have a desk job with a computer and e-mail. I have a cellphone with my work e-mail so I can stay updated while I'm not in the office, but I only really read it while I'm working. I guess if something really important came up my boss could call me in, and I'd be happy to oblige if I could because I know I would be compensated for it. So far this hasn't ever happened, though. My work weeks are 40 hours, although I feel no need to keep track of every minute - sometimes I leave a bit early, sometimes late. My boss doesn't really mind when I leave so long as work gets done on time. There's no punch clock where I work.

You may claim that my situation is unique and that I've been very lucky but this has been the same for the last three places I've worked in. I only left those jobs because I wanted better pay and more interesting things to do. The same goes for pretty much everyone I know. If you find yourself "leashed" to work, your cellphone or your boss's whims, switch employers. There are plenty - PLENTY - out there that care about keeping their employees happy. It has nothing to do with technology.

more than 4 years ago

Seagate Launches Hybrid SSD Hard Drive

W2k ReadyBoost in hw? (224 comments)

I wonder if this is simply a more expensive version of ReadyBoost. Similarly, it takes your most frequently used files and puts them on a flash drive for faster access times, in a way that is transparent to the end user. In this case I wonder if there would be any speed gain from using this on a PC running Windows 7 with ReadyBoost? Caching always introduces some overhead, so rather than using multiple levels of "flash cache" it might be better to simply turn ReadyBoost off in that case. My experience with ReadyBoost has been that it does indeed improve performance, but in no way close to using a real SSD as the system drive.

more than 4 years ago

Cross With the Platform

W2k Re:Could be worse (307 comments)

Windows Mobile does not have a backwards/forwards compatibility problem with desktop Windows because both run .NET. The GUI parts are different in places but you don't want to re-use those anyways as a desktop UI looks and works like crap on a mobile device. For the most part, though - and certainly including such basic bits as color management - .NET on the desktop is a perfect superset of .NET Compact Framework on Windows Mobile. Furthermore, the docs neatly outline what is available in CF and what isn't. At one of my previous jobs we used to literally compile the exact same (non-GUI) C# code for Windows Mobile and Windows XP/Vista. Only very few #ifdefs were required.

Now that Microsoft is going with Windows Phone 7, where apps will apparently be entirely Silverlight-based, I am guessing compatibility will be even better. Imaging building a web/desktop app in Silverlight/WPF and then changing the compiler flags to make an app that runs locally on any Windows Phone 7. No #ifdefs in sight. Nobody else has anything close to that level of portability between desktop/mobile except maybe Adobe.

more than 4 years ago

Core i5 and i3 CPUs With On-Chip GPUs Launched

W2k Re:OK can someone clear this up (235 comments)

Of course. Every PC hardware site worth a penny does regular articles on which CPU is currently the fastest and which will give you the most for your money. As well as comparisons between Intel/AMD. My favorite site for such things is Tom's Hardware, though Google will likely find you many more.

Which CPU is actually fastest heavily depends on what you will be using it for. Your list of "regular geek activities" does not narrow it down enough. Also, many applications contain optimizations that target a particular CPU family or architecture.

CPU articles: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/review/Components,1/CPU,1/

Best (gaming) CPU for the money as of dec 09: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/best-gaming-cpu,review-31755.html

All CPU performance charts: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/charts/processors,6.html

about 5 years ago

Do Your Developers Have Local Admin Rights?

W2k Re:Depressing landscape. (605 comments)

Many people on this thread claim that they can't do their job without admin rights of some kind, which is patently untrue

Yet each one of your "solutions" has the obvious effect of stopping me from doing my job. My time is too valuable to the company to have me waiting for a sysadmin, authorization from higher-ups or jumping through bureaucratic hurdles every time a trivial task like installing or upgrading an application/library/whatever has to be performed.

Of course I have local admin rights on my workstation. It's trivial to re-image should I mess it up (hasn't happened yet, mind) and it lets me do my job as efficiently as possible. Of course, since I'm a professional, I don't abuse my admin rights to do anything that might be a nuisance to anybody else. Not that I could do much with just the admin rights to my own workstation. Saturate the network, perhaps - but then an admin would drop by to give me a slap on the wrist within minutes, as the network is properly monitored.

Did I mention, me and my co-developers also have admin rights on the testing, and production servers? Yes, production. Again this is about empowering professional developers to carry out their jobs as efficiently as possible. What if I should screw up and drop all the tables on the production db, you ask? Well, it's obvious I wouldn't do anything like that intentionally, but otherwise, that's what backups are for. Not that I'd expect to keep my job should I make such a mistake.

Perhaps if you work in a "shop" full of pimply-faced code monkeys who can't be trusted with admin rights to the testing environment, or even the computers on their desks, then lots of policies and nazi sysadmins are quite in order. But perhaps then the real problem is with the recruitment standards. I for one wouldn't want to work in a place were such restrictions were necessary.

about 5 years ago

UK Wants To Phase Out Checks By 2018

W2k Re:Sounds Hard (796 comments)

Every month, I pay my landlord (a professor; I'm his only tenant) with a check. I wonder what system would replace that, that would be significantly different from checks, but that my landlord could accept?

Set up a reoccuring transfer at your bank's website. Since you are posting to Slashdot I don't believe using an on-line bank would be a problem for you. You only need your landlord's account number, and you'll save him the bother of cashing in the checks.

Also, what if I run over someone's bicycle, and I want to give him a blank check to pay for it?

Disregarding how stupid it is to give someone a blank check, you could just give him your contact details and reimburse him later. Or make arrangements directly with the bicycle repair shop.

Or, more realistically, what if I need to pay an individual that I have only just met more money than I have in cash?

On-line transfer. Dunno what bank you're using but mine lets me transfer money from my account to anyone else's using my phone (either by calling their service desk or by going to the bank's website via 3G).

If your bank does not provide basic on-line services, switch banks. I wish we could just do away with cash altogether. The problem isn't techical, it's political. We have all the solutions we need to replace cash, we just need to make sure that switching to electronic money doesn't let the guv'mint (or anybody else) monitor all our transactions.

more than 5 years ago



W2k W2k writes  |  more than 7 years ago

W2k writes "It's a well-known fact that Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system contains DRM features, intended to keep a user from manipulating protected digital content that passes through his system. One core part of the DRM in Vista is Protected Processes. In short, a protected process is given special privileges by the operating system to keep other processes from accessing its memory or injecting their own code into its execution path. For example, running a media player as a protected process would make it theoretically impossible for a hacker to read encryption keys for DRM:ed content from its memory space. Well, not any longer. ReactOS developer and well-known kernel hacker Alex Ionescu has published on his blog a tool that can protect or unprotect any process, no questions asked. Screenshots of the tool in action are provided, but no source code."



No you idiots, Vista isn't selling badly at all

W2k W2k writes  |  more than 7 years ago At first it was amusing to read comments from slashtrolls-in-denial claiming that Vista is "selling badly". But now I am seeing people moderating those comments to +5, Insightful, which is downright WRONG. Vista isn't selling badly at all, not by any reasonable standard of measurement. Google for "Vista sales" and ignore the obviously biased sites ("Microsoft-Watch.com", yeah THAT sounds fair and balanced). What do we find?

Sales of Windows Vista to businesses were stronger than expected during the operating system's debut month, according to a report from NPD Group.

Sales of Windows Vista have helped Microsoft post a forecast-beating 65% rise in third-quarter profits.

More than 20 million copies of Windows Vista were sold globally in February 2007, the first month of sales since its widespread consumer release.

Microsoft posted a net profit of $4.93 billion, or 50 cents per diluted share, in its fiscal third quarter ended March 31 versus a profit of $2.98 billion, or 29 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

... easily doubled the numbers managed by Windows XP, which itself had record sales of 17 million units in the two months after its release in October 2001. Putting the company's success in perspective, however, Windows marketing director Bill Mannion noted that the results were good but not out of line with his employer's goals.

I'm not a rabid MS fanboy but I think Vista is a fine upgrade to XP. My most recent laptop came with a "Vista capable" sticker, it installed without problems and has been running mostly smooth since. I don't exactly feel any pressure to upgrade my older workstation to Vista, although it's certainly got enough hardware to handle it. I do wish Microsoft would have spent a little more time polishing certain rough edges before public release. But in most areas, Vista is an improvement over XP. Saying it's "not an upgrade" is being ignorant at best.

In summary, whenever you see "poor Vista sales" on Slashdot, whoever is writing does not deserve an Insightful, or even an Informative. They deserve a -1, Wrong. And if you think ~20 million units and $5 BILLION net profit constitute poor sales, and that Microsoft should be worrying, then you must live in a very special (as in Special Olympics) world, and I would love to see what kind of sales figures you would consider "good".


If I try to submit another story, slap me. Hard.

W2k W2k writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Yeah, yeah, grousing about rejected submissions is lame, I get it. I'm gonna do it anyway. It does get on my nerves when I submit a story, watch it rise to orange in the Firehose, only to be completely ignored. Seven hours later, some Anonymous writes another submission about the same thing. That submission rises to green, but the editors just ignore it. More than 24 hours later, someone posts an (arguably) inferior story about the same thing, and lo and behold, it is published.

This was my submission:

Vista Protected Processes DRM broken
Submitted by W2k on 12:59 Friday 06 April 2007
W2k writes
"It's a well-known fact that Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system contains DRM features, intended to keep a user from manipulating protected digital content that passes through his system. One core part of the DRM in Vista is Protected Processes. In short, a protected process is given special privileges by the operating system to keep other processes from accessing its memory or injecting their own code into its execution path. For example, running a media player as a protected process would make it theoretically impossible for a hacker to read encryption keys for DRM:ed content from its memory space. Well, not any longer. ReactOS developer and well-known kernel hacker Alex Ionescu has published on his blog a tool that can protect or unprotect any process, no questions asked. Screenshots of the tool in action are provided, but no source code."

This is what some AC posted 7 hours later, also didn't get published:

Vista "Protected Processes" Compromised
Submitted by Anonymous Coward on 19:42 Friday 06 April 2007
An anonymous reader writes
"Protected processes, which were introduced in Windows Vista to allow DRM software to be hidden from the prying eyes of reverse engineers, have today had their security called into question by the release of D-Pin Purr (http://www.alex-ionescu.com/?p=35) by Alex Ionescu of ReactOS (http://www.reactos.org/) fame. His tool allows protection to be added and removed to or from arbitrary processes, circumventing the usual security checks. This could enable malware to hide itself from bona-fide scanning / removal software by hiding inside a secured process, and opens the door to some inventive attacks on the DRM pathways of Vista."

This is what finally gets posted onto the front page, more than 24 hours after my original submission:

Vista Protected Processes Bypassed
Posted by CowboyNeal on 18:41 Saturday 07 April 2007
Anonymous Hero writes
"Security Researcher Alex Ionescu strikes again, this time with a proof of concept program that will arbitrarily enable and foremost disable the protection of so-called 'protected processes' in Windows Vista. Not only threatening Vista DRM and friends, it's also another step towards hardened and even more annoying malware. Normally, only specially signed processes made by special companies (decided by Microsoft) can be protected, but now the bad guys can protect any evil process they want, including the latest version of their own keylogger, spambot, or worm, as well as unprotect any 'good' one."

I've read the FAQ and I understand the whole omelette thing, but this is just stupid. Not only do I think my take on the story was better (more informative, more links, written first) but it took almost two full days for the story to make it onto Slashdot's front page! Even fscking PRINT MEDIA does better than that!

Alex Ionescu's blog entry: 2007-04-06 00:29
My submission to Slashdot: 2007-04-06 11:59
Slashdot story appears: 2007-04-07 17:41

Judge for yourself. All the times are UTC, unless I made a mistake (they're UTC+1 in the copy-pasted submissions above). So, what if there were "enough" stories posted already on friday and the editors simply decided to hold off posting anything else until saturday? Well, that doesn't still explain why they chose the (arguably) poorly-written submission over mine.

Will this long whine/rant change anything? Probably not. I am writing this as a reminder to myself not to submit any more stories. And to stop using the firehose, as the editors seem to ignore it anyways. In fact, I'll be quite content just reading the worthwhile stories (while blocking all ads) and modding down the trolls (which is easy since I seem to be getting modpoints several times each week now).



Read the blog!

W2k W2k writes  |  more than 10 years ago Okay, so it's not updated that often, but I still wish people would read my blog every once in a while. I can't directly count the number of hits it gets atm, but something tells me it's lower than low, since I haven't gotten any comments posted in months. Then again, maybe that's because I don't allow anonymous comments. People may be reading but not writing.

Are anonymous comments a must for running a blog these days?

Btw, I'm eventually moving the blog over to Skynet, a content management system I designed which has a lot more bells and whistles than the current system (and it's rapidly becoming self-aware, hence the name). Oh, and I'll probably replace the comments system with a reply-only phpBB forum that gets a new thread created for every thing I post. With anonymous logins enabled.


Slashdot mods

W2k W2k writes  |  more than 10 years ago Aren't the options for upmods and downmods rather limited? I think we need some new ones, such as

+1 Cool (to replace the bland and seldom-used Underrated)
-1 Ripoff (copy-paste from website or other person's comment)
-1 Childish (poster is childish - easily spotted, uses the word "Micro$oft")
-1 Zealot (not trolling, just passionately stupid)
-1 Wrong (for factual errors, claiming John Carmack invented Linux etc.)

Obviously, with all these new -1's, Overrated could be made a thing of the past, too. Zealot and Flamebait are possibly overlapping a bit in meaning, so either could be dropped in favour of the other. The others, however, I really miss, especially Wrong.


A website worth saving

W2k W2k writes  |  more than 11 years ago Dear Wilhelm Svenselius,

This email confirms that you have paid Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (donation@wikipedia.org) 5.00 EUR using PayPal.

This credit card transaction will appear on your bill as "PAYPAL *WIKIMEDIA".

They need your help, too.


THG to sue AMDMB.com

W2k W2k writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I recently saw this at HardOCP.com:

As mentioned earlier, this editorial posted at AMDMB, chronicles Ryan Shrout's experience at a rather large LAN party this weekend. Here in the USA, we understand it to be our right to openly speak about our experiences in life, but quite possibly others do not feel that way.

Omid Rahmat of Tom's Guides Publishing, a.k.a TomsHardware.com, verified in an email to me that he made the following statements in reply to a reader's email explaining that he would not visit THG any more due to their recent actions.

-----Original Message-----
From: Omid Rahmat [mailto:omid@removed.com]
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 8:41 AM
To: Name Removed

Subject: RE: MML2

Sorry to hear that, but Amdmb.com fabricated a story, and we gave as good as we got. We'll let the lawyers handle it.

If you choose to believe the amdmb.com version, fine, but we're not going to just sit there and have someone lie about us.

Omid Rahmat
Tom's Guides Publishing

Then also in another email:

It's bull, and no rebuttal required. We'll take them to court instead. They might get the message that way.

Omid Rahmat
Tom's Guides Publishing

It seems as though that is exactly what they intend to do as Omid called Ryan Shrout this morning around 11:45AM CST and verbalized that Tom's Guide Publishing would be having their lawyers send Ryan a letter explaining that they would be suing them for libel. Ryan, being a "poor college student" working on his EE degree does not have the funds needed to defend an action of this sort, it is our opinion that this action is to force Ryan's hand and make him take down his page that chronicles the events.

I have committed to Ryan that I will personally help him with funding his legal council so he will not have to fold with the almighty dollar being the deciding factor. We have also put him in direct contact with our attorney we keep on retainer that specializes in Intellectual Property matters. I think Ryan is telling the truth and should not be stifled.

The fact of the matter is that Omid was not present at the event and does not know what happened first hand. I would guess that Omid might be getting his information from parties that are now concerned with keeping their jobs. Also worth mentioning is that Ryan has some recorded audio of THG and AMD representatives saying some very interesting things to him that would be terribly embarrassing, if not downright damaging, should they be released publicly.

We have tried to contact AMD about this, this morning, but have not been successful.

As of posting this, I have received another mail from Omid making the following statement:

We will deal with Mr. Shrout through the appropriate legal channels, and leave it at that.

In response to this, yours truly wrote the following to Kyle (who wrote the above news item):


Just a few comments on your recent news item entitled "THG to Sue AMDMB.com". Unlike yourself, I am not entirely convinced that Ryan is telling the truth, if THG are willing to go to such extreme lenghts as a lawsuit in order to set the record the way they want it.

Here in the USA, we understand it to be our right to openly speak about our experiences in life, but quite possibly others do not feel that way.

Well, THG apparently feels that Ryan did _not_ speak about an experience in his life, but was in fact lying. Which _is_ illegal when it constitutes libel. It's your US laws that makes it possible for THG to sue in this case.

Ryan, being a "poor college student" working on his EE degree does not have the funds needed to defend an action of this sort

Assuming that Ryan fabricated the story about what happened at MML2, the fact that he's a poor student doesn't alleviate him from guilt. Imagine what the world would look like if every criminal who could not afford to pay for his/her crime would be let off without punishment.

If Ryan has a case, he should be able to claim significant damages from THG. He should have no problem finding legal counsel who would represent him pro bono, given a sure-to-win case as this one would surely be, if Ryan has all the evidence he claims to have.

I think Ryan is telling the truth and should not be stifled.

Just out of curiosity, do you have anything to back up this assumption apart from your real-life impressions of Ryan? (You two have met as I understand it)

The fact of the matter is that Omid was not present at the event and does not know what happened first hand. I would guess that Omid might be getting his information from parties that are now concerned with keeping their jobs.

The fact of the matter is also that YOU weren't present at the event and thus, you also don't know what happened first hand. I would guess that you are getting your information from Ryan, which is now concerned with keeping his rep, his website, and his life's savings.

Also worth mentioning is that Ryan has some recorded audio of THG and AMD representatives saying some very interesting things to him that would be terribly embarrassing, if not downright damaging, should they be released publicly.

Why haven't they been released already? Surely there'd be no reason for Ryan to withhold such incriminating evidence, especially given the recent surge of disbelief in his claims. Why wait until the trial?

Recordings are very easy to fabricate. Someone saying "hi, I work for THG, I'm gonna end your career Ryan" does not automatically constitute "evidence". Have you heard the recordings yourself?

I look forward to your most prompt reply.

Wilhelm Svenselius

To which Kyle promptly replied:

Thanks for your thoughts and opinions.


Kyle Bennett
Editor-in-Chief @ HardOCP.com
Proprietor @ Ratpadz.com


I smell a rat.


I'm happy to announce...

W2k W2k writes  |  more than 11 years ago Every year or so, I take the time to install Linux on a spare PC, in order to see whether it's finally matured as a desktop-worthy OS. Let me briefly sum up my experiences with various distros until today:

  • Mandrake 8: Good but ugly installer, autodetected all my hardware except for my USB mouse(!). Very messy default UI and menus, ugly, tried to be newbie-friendly but succeeded poorly. KDE was very unstable for some reason. Attempt to tweak graphics settings (in order to reach higher res than 800x600) resulted in X suddenly refusing to start. Could not get it working again.
  • Debian: Nice, simple installer very much aimed at the advanced user. No auto-detection whatsoever. Never got X working. Debian to me seems best suited for people who are already Linux gurus and want a solid server platform (why don't they use FreeBSD?). I'll be sure to try it again sometime.
  • SuSE 8.2: Never even got to installing this. I read a review, saw some screenshots, and the general impression of it was that it was about as ugly and wannabe-friendly as Mandrake. Couldn't bring myself to waste the time and energy to try it.

Fast-forward to today. I should have tried Red Hat sooner, of course. I found the ISO's were conveniently available via BitTorrent, allowing me to max out my connection downloading them. Less than half an hour for three ISO's is GOOD. After burning the ISO's to three blank CD-R's, I proceeded to install RH9. The following sums up my experiences so far:

  • Installation was very simple and straightforward. Just click Next and make sure everything's set up properly, fine-tune where necessary. Package management very nicely handled. I liked the RH9 installer better than WinXP's, which is a first.
  • RH9 autodetected my hardware except for my NIC (3Com 3CR990) and there was an IRQ conflict with my sound card that fixed itself when I changed a setting in the BIOS. I found the 3c990 driver on 3Com's site, however it wouldn't "make" straight out of the tarball forcing me to edit the driver's C code by hand to get it to compile. The driver had been out since 2000, I wonder why it wasn't included in RH9 by default. Once compiled, installation of the module was fairly painless.
  • RH9 looks GOOD. Antialiased fonts, nice wallpapers, lovely Gnone skin. Again, this is an area where I prefer RH9 over WinXP. Not that I place heavy emphasis on cosmetics, nooo :)
  • Installing drivers for my nVidia Geforce2 MX was fairly painless - RH9 doesn't let me exit X(!) by default, I had to edit inittab.conf and reboot(!) for it to let me close the X server. After that, installing the nVidia drivers was painless and I was enjoying Tux Racer shortly thereafter.
  • RH9 has a very nice set of included apps. OpenOffice.org is great (though not a full MS Office replacement - where's the FrontPage workalike?). Mozilla Browser/Mail I already know and love from Windows. A simple but functional CD burning app was also included. Thanks to the nice package system (see above), I did NOT end up with a thousand apps I didn't need, as happened with Mandrake.
  • Automatic updates via RHN (Red Hat Network) were quick and painless. More convenient than Windows Update, but better as it's not limited to OS components.
  • Samba was tricky to set up (the graphical frontend is buggy) but I eventually got it working. Very useful.
  • Why does RH9 auto-mount CD's, but not floppies? Took me a while to figure it out. Sendmail seems to have a problem, it hangs the system for a fairly long time when it loads during boot. Haven't found where to turn it off yet - unchecking it in RH9's services manager didn't work.

I'm gonna try installing Quake III Arena next. Wish me luck. So far I pronounce Red Hat 9 mature enough for Joe Sixpack to use as a home desktop/workstation (so long as he doesn't need to play too many games - not the fault of Linux mind, but of the game developers).

However, I wouldn't trust Joe Sixpack to install RH9 by himself. Anything that requires editing a .conf file by hand, or even worse, editing C code, is TOO HARD and shouldn't be necessary. Driver installation should be a three-click prodedure - two (a double-click) to launch the installer, another (single click) to accept the EULA. It is this simple on Windows, I see NO reason whatsoever why it can't be on Linux, except for lazy programmers. Yes, I know most of them don't get paid. No, I don't think that's an excuse.

Another thing that needs to change is the attitude towards newbies of some Linux user. I'm sure there are many that are very supportive of semi-clueless newbies like myself, but the most vocal ones - at least in the help channels I visited - are not. I get the impression that many Linux users don't WANT more people to use their OS, and consider the recent user interface enhancements bad. This is counter-productive to the wide adoption of Linux and the Linux community should take a united stance against such behaviour.

By the way, you will note that I say Linux, not GNU/Linux. While I agree that the latter is more technically correct, I have decided to subscribe to the notion that defines "Linux" as "an operating system built around the Linux kernel". Using this definition makes talking about Linux much easier, since it does not require distinction between the operating system and the kernel. It is arguable how often such distinction is actually necessary. Another reason why I don't use GNU/Linux is that I personally dislike RMS, mostly because of his ideals, which I consider misguided. More about that in some other writeup. I do, however, like Linus Thorvalds. He's an engineer and an artist, much like I like to think of myself.

For the interested, these are the specs of the computer I installed RH9 on: Athlon Thunderbird 1GHz, 512MB PC133 RAM, Asus A7V, nVidia Geforce2 MX, Sound Blaster Live! Value, 100GB WD Caviar, 22GB IBM Deskstar, HP CD-Writer 9310i, 3Com Etherlink 3XP. Plus a bog standard CD-ROM reader and floppy drive. Everything was auto-detected by RH9 except for the NIC, see above.

If this was a review, I'd give Red Hat Linux 9 nine out of ten points for user interface, seven out of ten for technology, ten out of ten for installation, nine out of ten for the free support (docs, online help, automatic updates) and eight out of ten for compatibility. Score subject to change as my experience with RH9 develops further.


Broken Slashdot moderation system?

W2k W2k writes  |  more than 11 years ago It's kind of funny, strange and scary at the same time - these last few months, it feels like I've got five mod points waiting for me when I log on to Slashdot every couple days. I suppose I must be a really good moderator (I have never received an unfair metamod, how's that?) or the system is broken in some way.

It's especially strange since I am one who does NOT agree to many of the views that seem to dominate among the more vocal members of the Slashdot crowd - such as the notion that Microsoft is "evil" and that Windows is a pile of shit. I find Windows (specifically, XP/2003) to be a very capable operating system, which I consider Linux to be unsuccessfully playing catch-up with - more about this in some other journal entry, perhaps. Anyway, since my moderations reflect this, it's a wonder that they're still letting me mod. I suppose that while Slashdot's editors aren't very fair or unbiased, the Slashcode is. Deep down, we all know what's right and wrong, regardless of whether we consist of flesh or code.


Slashdot needs better editors

W2k W2k writes  |  more than 12 years ago ...or better yet, the current editors need to introduce more stuff to let the users affect content. My main idea on this is:

Letting the users vote for what stories make it onto the front page. I've submitted a couple of stories, all with perfectly suitable material. I'm a professional journalist, I can say without doubt that nothing was bad, spelling, grammar or content-wise, about those submissions. No, there weren't any other submissions on the same topic posted instead. Still, none of those submissions made it onto the front page. I know that many people like to grouse about perfectly valid submissions getting rejected, and there is no way to find out WHY your submissions were rejected.

My suggestion: Add a new page to Slashdot, where as-yet unpublished stories are listed. They will, of course, have to undergo some rough screening by the moderators, but every story that's not an obvious duplicate or total garbage (spam, porn, goatse.cx, etc) gets listed. Beside each story is a selection box with ratings from 1-10, and a display of the current average rating of each story. When a user rates a story, the average rating is updated. After the story has been voted on x times, or has been sitting on the page x hours, it is either scrapped or published on the front page, depending on the rating. Any stories with a rating above x gets published, IMHO this value should be something like five, maybe seven.

Now, to make this a bit more feasible: Let's say only subscribers get to vote. Or only users with karma => 20 pts. Letting EVERYONE vote would probably be a mistake, but it's a great feature for those who subscribe.

A thought: Apart from the titles, the first three lines of the story could be included, or a link to read the entire thing. It might be hard to judge the quality of a story by just the title.

Another thought: If this system was implemented, I'd subscribe. JUST for the ability to vote on upcoming stories.

Third thought: While the above is probably not going to be implemented anytime soon (if at all), for now I'd be content with the editors having to specify a REASON WHY for each submission that's rejected. Really.


If programming languages were swimming pools

W2k W2k writes  |  more than 12 years ago
C = Deep end with sharks
C++ = Deep end with sharks and wave machine
VBasic = Kiddie pool
ASM = Concrete box where you build your own water molecule by molecule
Pascal = Extra-deep Kiddie Pool with kiddie piss in it
JAVA = Veruca infested foot shower

Zark deserves the credit for the last one, btw.


Lost Submissions

W2k W2k writes  |  more than 12 years ago 2001-12-18 13:14:28 MPAA "warns" technology firms (articles,news) (rejected)
2002-01-16 22:14:35 WMA coming to car stereos (articles,hardware) (rejected)
2002-01-27 20:05:20 AMD unveils 2 666 MHz Athlon prototype (articles,hardware) (accepted)
2002-01-29 14:39:11 Security hole in Netscape and Mozilla (articles,security) (rejected)
2002-01-30 14:26:17 BBC bans use of non-MS PDAs (articles,news) (rejected)
2002-02-12 22:32:21 3DMark2001 Second Edition released (articles,games) (rejected)
2002-02-21 12:35:50 OSS helps nazis make hate games (articles,usa) (rejected)
2002-03-08 17:11:54 IBM says 120GXP drives shouldn't be relied on (articles,news) (rejected)

I find it amusing that the only story that was accepted, was also the only one that was a total and utter fake. It was never actually posted to the /. front page, though.

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