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How Apple Can Take Its Headphones To the Next Level

dexotaku sensors (196 comments)

This... a thousand times, this.. Make them not sound like crap, THEN start working on other things.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Would You Stop a Debt Collection Scam From Targeting You?

dexotaku SI tones (497 comments)

I'm seeing lots of people recommending the use of SI tones ["SIT tones" is tautological].

I'm in Canada, first, so that may have some strange influence. Second, I'm on our national do not call registry - noting that one of the first things our government did was sell the list to spammers and robocallers, increasing the volume of nuisance calls for 100% of the people who supposedly "opted out".

About 10 years ago, I set my answering machine up with its default outgoing message beginning with the "Intercept" (number changed or disconnected) SIT. Having collected call statistics since before then, I can say with a high degree degree of certainty that **NO automated callers have EVER respected the SI tones**. Ever. Not a single one.

YMMV, of course.

about 10 months ago

In Canada, a 3D-Printed Rifle Breaks On First Firing

dexotaku Re:Wednesday Night Special (204 comments)

It's a William Gibson reference from the Bridge trilogy - a ceramic single-use firearm [using it destroys it] for committing suicide.

about a year ago

Crowdsourced Finnish Copyright Initiative Meets Signature Requirement

dexotaku Re:U.S., cough, international pressure much? (166 comments)

You obviously don't know any artists and aren't one yourself.

Many if not most of the artists I know, have met, or worked with [both inside and outside of academia] do what they love in such a way that what you're talking about [pay them by the hour] is not even remotely feasible.

Among other things:

* They tend to work for enormous lengths of time on only one thing. Writing a book, for instance, can take years - and often if not usually requires such a devotion of time that doing anything else - like making money by some "normal" means so they can just plain survive, let alone afford to work on their creation - is next to impossible.
* They never get paid -at all- for 80-90% of their "work" [yes, I'm making up numbers, but based on personal experience and observation and interaction with MANY artists this doesn't seem like an exaggeration]
* Most of the artists I have met and known -never- recover anything like what their time "should" be worth for their works of art, even if they do get paid for them. Many works of art -never- make money enough for the artists to even cover total materiel costs let alone how much time it took to create them.

Funny thing is that I'm usually on the side of the argument that you are - I think that copyright as currently implemented in most countries is ludicrous. I also think that the idea of perpetual royalties is outright stupid, and that copyright terms should be shorter than they are.

I can't agree at all with the idea that artists try to somehow get paid hourly for what they do, though. There are too many reasons that idea is utterly impracticable.

about a year ago

Data Storage That Could Outlast the Human Race

dexotaku I can see the future... (231 comments)

Every warning about not having the specific non-obvious [and in its time, patented + proprietary] tech to read the media comes into play here.

about a year ago

Reject DRM and You Risk Walling Off Parts of the Web, Says W3C Chief

dexotaku Re:Idiots (433 comments)

I logged in to post exactly this. Indeed.

about a year ago

The Aging of Our Nuclear Power Plants Is Not So Graceful

dexotaku Re:NIMBY (436 comments)

Gotcha. Cheers.

about a year ago

The Aging of Our Nuclear Power Plants Is Not So Graceful

dexotaku Re:NIMBY (436 comments)

>I can't imagine where you could live and see only five minutes without power per year. I've never seen that level of reliability anywhere I've lived:

Where I live [Manitoba, Canada] and have lived most of my life since 1975, I could count on one hand the number of times I've seen the power go out longer than an hour. Outages lasting longer than a minute [from lightning strikes to transmission equipment, for instance] are few and far between [2-3x per year]. Outages lasting a few seconds occur now and then for similar reasons [weather], but still happen less often than 10x per year. Brownouts are rare in the extreme and almost always caused by nearby equipment failure [also usually because of weather]. Not sure if if would total more than 5 minutes on average but my guess would be - no.

Our power generation here is mostly hydroelectric, but we also have a gas-turbine plant nearby for use during the winter [and it's not always on]. There's also a backup coal generator beside it but it's rarely used nowadays.

about a year ago

EA Building Microtransactions Into All of Its Future Games

dexotaku This doesn't *have* to be a bad thing..but it's EA (303 comments)

I don't think that microtransactions are an inherently bad thing, but in this case - well, it's EA, so it can ONLY be bad.

Take a look at Need For Speed World for some indication of the future.. the worst-implemented and maintained MMO that I'm aware of [noting that I know I'm not an expert on MMOs, but NFSW is truly shite].
The game is ostensibly "free to play" and centred on multiplaying racing.. but:
* As with most EA fare, the game is run almost entirely by the marketing department [I actually feel sorry for the devs, as it's evident that they're effectively bound & gagged by the marketing department]
* the devs and marketing people actually stated, "You can't buy victory," despite the fact that the best of everything are available only for real money, and the best of everything totally affect gameplay and shift all advantages easily and quickly to any fool with a credit card
* There's effectively no matchmaking most of the time, so the chances of being able to enter a public event with even remote chances of winning a round depend mostly on how much you've put into real-money-only cars that make up nearly all of the top performers
* there's no chat system for users to communicate publicly; they had to disable it >1 year ago because the devs aren't competent enough to make anything even remotely robust or secure, script-kiddies would constantly cause the game to crash for other players with simple buffer overflows
* EA obviously don't get what the "micro" in "microtransaction" is supposed to mean: all transactions are in dollars or greater; if you were to compare NFSW to any other NFS title and try to get the same gameplay out of it, it would cost thousands of dollars of your real money to even get close [and there are players who've put in thousands, insanely]
* "Exclusives" cost up to $50-75CAD for things that are only special because of a repaint by the art department [exclusive monacle, anyone?]

I could go on and on.. yeah, it's only a game, but compared to their off-the-shelf titles this "free to play" game is effectively several orders of magnitude more expensive.. which make little sense given that the real multiplayer aspects of the game are either disabled, broken, or simply not present. The game is basically, at this point, not really a multiplayer game.

This is the future of gaming, going by EA's ethics-free "screw the customer" business plan: make the client free, but bleed players dry hundreds if not thousands of times over if they want to "achieve" the same things they can by buying last year's single-player+muliplayer title down-to-$10 at any brick&mortar store.

I feel sorry for the smallish studios that EA keep buying up - the devs lose all freedom to determine the direction they want their games to go, and live under corporate policies that amount to "leave the customer completely in the dark while charging them as much as possible." The future of gaming, indeed.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Keyboard Layout To Reduce Right Pinky/Ring Finger Usage?

dexotaku Re:Left-Handed Dvorak (165 comments)

As someone with similar issues [but with the opposite hand; my left is nerve-damaged and I can't use the fingers independently] I have to throw in here that the Dvorak-RH layout - which I've been using since 1993 - is a doGsend.

I still use QWERTY on other peoples' computers, or when forced to by software that ignores the user layout, and I can still type reasonably fast [~45wpm] with only one hand, and I have to say that the Dvorak layout doesn't really help in terms of speed - but it helps incredibly in relieving the strain that typing on QWERTY [and stretching your fingers all about] causes in abundance.

If you're favouring one hand over the other - even if the one is still somewhat useful - it may make sense to switch layouts just to relieve the strain of stretching across widely-spread keys. You can still assist with the less useful hand.

The best thing about the Dvorak one-handed layouts is their wide support: every OS I've used since the early 90s supported the layouts, more recently with relatively simple user settings.

Point of advice though: *don't buy a dedicated Dvorak keyboard* since they're usually ridiculously expensive. reflecting the fact that the only issue I've ever run into is converting an average QWERTY keyboard to the layout [which is a requisite for learning, for most people] is that a lot of current keyboard manufacturers [all of the big names, from my testing] purposefully makes their keyboards such that keys can't be simply re-arranged [assholes!]. Last time I went looking for a replacement keyboard I went through 4 [from logitech, saitek, maybe belkin, and lastly a no-name Chinese wireless] before I found one that could be re-arranged. Otherwise you may have to resort to using key-top labels which can be found relatively inexpensively.

about a year and a half ago

Where Has All the Xenon Gone?

dexotaku Re:Canadians Reserves (225 comments)

What strategies are based on bacon?

Dunno.. the only ones that immediately spring to mind involve things like suicide or murder via, say, bear attack.

about 2 years ago

Where Has All the Xenon Gone?

dexotaku Re:Canadians Reserves (225 comments)

..but somehow we lack a strategic bacon reserve. I think bacon really should have the priority there.

about 2 years ago

Mesa 9.0 Released With Open Source OpenGL 3.1 Drivers

dexotaku Re:Switching to the Linux (79 comments)

There has been no strong push to provide alternatives for the Adobe-applications, so why would there be anything such now all of a sudden? I do not see the situation changing for years to come.

Um. What? Seriously, what?

This .. the lack of usable, powerful equivalents [that don't require an engineering degree or at least mindset in order to learn how to use, like software such as Blender] to such applications as:

  • * Photoshop [GIMP ain't there yet, but it's getting closer - the next major release may shift this considerably, when they add 16bpc image support among other things]
  • * Lightroom [Raw Therapee is getting -really- close but metadata interoperability with Adobe apps via XMP or equivalent is basically a requirement for professionals to take it seriously]
  • * Premiere .. or Sony Vegas .. or farther up the line, AVID et al [there are literally no even remotely-near-equivalents in the video NLE arena, basic editors - sure, but anything more advanced doesn't exist, though again - development -is- at least taking place in tools to build up to that degree of functionality - we'll probably be there in the early 2020s]
  • * After Effects [no even remotely-near-equivalents at all, no development that I'm aware of]
  • * Indesign [Scribus is inching forward but there are a few interface obstacles that make it simply bizarre to use for anyone who's ever used "pro" layout software .. even Pagemaker 4 - from the early 1990s, for Windows 3.1 - is still functionally superior]

... are basically what are holding back *all* of the people I know who would like to switch away from Windows but can't due to the requirement of usable production tools [for business -or- any other use].

There are some shining examples [look for an audio NLE on linux and there are several very decent competitive options to programs like Vegas, Audition, Sound Forge, etc., or check out Inkscape for graphic design] as well of course, but there are various reasons why those may not be suitable solutions too [such as the multitude of choices on linux of who-knows-how-well-they're supported low-latency audio driver subsystems which may make required things like synchronous multitracking impossible with a given piece of equipment or even particular distro].

I occasionally teach uni [mostly arts] how to use graphic design / video / audio software; many can't afford Macs [where the Adobe applications and other stable equivalents already exist and credulous, uneducated users aren't even aware of or simply don't care about the walled-garden[s] that will affect what they can do with their own hardware] and among those who can't, the majority would like nothing more than to switch away from using Windows.

My observation of reasons for resistance to the adoption of linux by the sections of the populace that I deal with on a regular basis [musicians, videographers, video/audio editors, graphic artists, photographers, professional academics of many stripe[s], writers, etc.] are thus:

  • #1 the lack of serious production tools - closed- or open-source, free [as in beer] or not .. almost everyone I know would GLADLY pay Adobe or whomever fistfuls of dollars for native linux versions of their applications *just* to be able to get away from Windows.
  • #2 is the lack of native iTunes because so many people are inextricably tied to Apple's store [half of the reason I refuse to open an iTunes store account or for that matter purchase any iDevice - the other half being that I both can't afford to and also refuse to effectively pay more to get less overall functionality/control].
  • #3 is, predictably, gaming [Steam may alter this somewhat].

I have helped a number of people [including both children and seniors] switch to linux, but their usage profiles are pretty uniform: they're content consumers, not producers. They read and send email, browse the web, and almost everything they do can be done in a web browser on any OS. The majority of what they use are platform-agnostic programs [other than cosmetic differences] .. like firefox, skype, PDF readers, and media players.. For them, I find most linux distros are *vastly* superior to Windows - the repository system[s] alone simplify things incredibly compared to either Windows or Mac OS - it's no wonder that both Apple & MS are shifting to "store" systems that act much like linux repos.

So - again.. what?

about 2 years ago

EA Makes Minor Tweaks To FIFA 12 For the Wii, Releases It As FIFA 13

dexotaku Re:Modularity (105 comments)

I love you guys and gals. Seriously. /. comments are among my favourite entertainment. Thank you.

about 2 years ago

Tesla Reveals Charging Station Sites In 3 US States

dexotaku Oh, THAT Tesla... (332 comments)

I read the headline and my brain jumped immediately to thoughts of someone finding some writing of Tesla's that indicate the hidden location of still-existing wireless "charging stations" in three states... ah, wishful thinking.

about 2 years ago

Former Xerox PARC Researcher: Windows 8 Is a Cognitive Burden

dexotaku Re:You know what else is a cognitive burden? (404 comments)

Yes, you're missing something. I just tried that - it tiles the windows once. It doesn't put your window manager into a tiling mode. Move a window, and now it's stacked, just like any other window. Back to cognitive burden of window micromanaging.

Point well taken - I guess I'm just so used to doing things the more-or-less "traditional" MW/MDI way that what you're describing didn't even occur to me as desirable. I can see why, now.

about 2 years ago

Former Xerox PARC Researcher: Windows 8 Is a Cognitive Burden

dexotaku Re:You know what else is a cognitive burden? (404 comments)

[With Windows 7] Right-click the taskbar. Click "Show windows side-by-side".
[With older versions] Right-click the taskbar. Click "Tile Windows" [either horizontally or vertically].

Or am I missing something?

about 2 years ago

Disney Turns Plants Into Multi-Touch Sensors

dexotaku This would bring new meaning... (97 comments)

This would bring new meaning to the phrase, "My remote died."

more than 2 years ago

Is It Time To End Our Love Affair With the QWERTY Keyboard?

dexotaku Re:Amazing how he has the only solution! (557 comments)

Replying to self to note:

Nerve damage to my left arm makes using it for either mouse or keyboard basically impossible. I can use a trackball with it, but have very little pointer precision and can't click the buttons. Point being: there are valid reasons for not wanting to alternate between keyboard/mouse frequently [which makes using e.g. Apple computers where they tend to force you to use mouse clicks by simply not having keyboard shortcuts for a lot of things a real PITA].

more than 2 years ago



They'll help you out with tech - and ignore FOSS

dexotaku dexotaku writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dexotaku writes "I am on the board of a registered charitable organisation. Today our org received an unsolicited email from a group called TechSoup Canada which purportedly seeks to assist non-profit or charitable organisations as well as libraries with donated software as well as training and technical support. This all sounds very well, but upon further reading it becomes evident that they support and are supported only by major software corporations such as Microsoft, Adobe, and Intuit. While their laudable stated goal is to assist organisations that often have severe budget constraints, my concern is that not a single free or open-source alternative is ever mentioned by them. If saving organisations who can't afford commercial software and service contracts is their goal, why is their only stated method to perpetuate vendor lock-in and reliance on commercial operating systems and proprietary document formats? I'm saddened by having to stamp their efforts with the big red EVIL stamp."


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