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Amazon Fire Phone Reviews: Solid But Overly Ambitious

ogdenk Re:they're also toys though (58 comments)

"Smartphones are for work, for life. They're not toys, they're tools."

Eh, if that were strictly the case, the market would be a lot different. Smartphones are a lot of things: tool, toy, fashion, entertainment.

Exactly.... if that were the case the Windows CE and PalmOS smartphones would have sold a lot better than they did in the early 2000's. They were actually much better suited for real work than Android or the Glitzy iOS interface. The CPU's were weak and they had no 3D acceleration but they were actually USEFUL.

The majority of smartphone users basically treat them as phones they can play games on and check facebook. There's maybe 3 people in my office that know how to use their phone effectively for anything else. And most of us were issued an iPhone 5S. I really wanted to keep my Milestone 3 because it was more useful for..... you guessed it..... real work. Now I'm stuck with a much faster, but overall less useful device.

5 days ago
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Lenovo Halts Sales of Small-Screen Windows 8.1 Tablets Due To "Lack of Interest"

ogdenk Re: Atom = worthless (125 comments)

Yeah, if they'd implement the Ink->Text functionality in the Metro version, it would suck a lot less. That's my only real gripe with it.

Apple Newton-style drawing touch-up would be nice too.... like turning crappy circles into nice ones, etc. I miss my Newton :-( It spanked OneNote in terms of functionality.

about two weeks ago
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Lenovo Halts Sales of Small-Screen Windows 8.1 Tablets Due To "Lack of Interest"

ogdenk Re: Atom = worthless (125 comments)

Correct. We have several Lenovo ThinkPad 2 tablets running Win8.1 and the input panel is right on the taskbar. These came with Wacom touch/pen digitizer screens. My only complaint is that the digitizer needs recalibration every so often.

The newer dual-core atoms are no power house but I wouldn't say they are useless. Stuff like OneNote works great. Basic stuff in GIMP it does ok with. Haven't tried Photoshop. It runs Office quite nicely. For a cheap business tablet with good battery life they do the job well. They are nice and responsive but they are certainly not "workstation-class". If you want performance, get an i5/i7 based tablet and enjoy the heat and poor battery life.

We handed them out to district supervisors for our retail stores and gave them docking stations here at the office. It's worked out well. They spend most of their time in Desktop mode vs. running Metro apps. The only metro app they use is the fairly crippled metro version of onenote for taking quick notes.

The atom tablets are a good compromise if you need x86 software but want power efficiency and cheap solid state storage more like ARM tablets. If you have folks that aren't doing real CPU-intensive work, they are fine. Most administrative staff usually are not. The Lenovo TPT2 is cheaper than an iPad these days and far more useful in a business environment.

about two weeks ago
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Nearly 25 Years Ago, IBM Helped Save Macintosh

ogdenk Re:Pairing? (236 comments)

Also, MacOS was horrible in 1991. That was the one relatively-popular OS that Windows could nearly compete on merit with.

Ummm..... Windows 3.0 was a 16-bit DOS shell that was horribly buggy and lacked a lot of functionality most take for granted with a GUI OS. MacOS System 7 was out by then. A real 32-bit GUI OS that was easy to manage, lightweight and simple. It did its fair share of crashing but was a MUCH better OS than DOS/Win3.x. I was more of an Atari ST user in 1991 still... we converted to Macs a little later after we realized the TT030 was pretty much vaporware and underperforming when a few units finally did ship.

It wasn't until Win95 that the classic MacOS had a serious competitor from MS. It wasn't until WinNT4 that MS had something better. The Mac's real competition in 1991 was the Amiga and Atari ST. All of which were kick-ass machines that were less costly than a nice Mac.

NeXT machines were around as well then and they were SWEET but far too expensive for most folks. Lucky for us, NeXT/OpenStep became MacOS X.

about two weeks ago
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X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

ogdenk Re:Soon... (224 comments)

That's a WINE issue, not really an XQuartz issue. Really only an issue with full-screen stuff. To be fair, I've had this happen a lot on Linux/BSD machines as well.

I never use the old "Cmd-Opt-Esc" Force Quit method. Easier to hold opt and rightclick dock icon and hit force quit there. If that's not an option I usually have a terminal window open and I can just kill it from the CLI. TotalTerminal is awesome and should be part of the base OS. I haven't had a situation where it didn't pop up over whatever was running. X apps included.

about two weeks ago
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X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

ogdenk Re:Soon... (224 comments)

Mac hardware isn't really overpriced. Just stick to the base config and add your own RAM and bigger drive. The thing is that Apple doesn't have crappy budget machines aside from the Mac Mini and even the Mini is no slouch. Look at similar PC's with the same config, in the same form factor with nice sturdy all-metal chassis. You'll find the Mac is often cheaper.

Where Apple is unappealing to a lot of "enthusiasts" is the lack of low-end or mid-range expandable machines with slots. People shouldn't have to spend $3,000 for expandability. But most of that crowd knows how to build a hackintosh if they want one anyway. I run it on cheap non-Apple hardware very successfully for home use with full hardware support. I let my employer buy the newer Apple-branded hardware except maybe my little used 2009 MacBook at home which runs 10.9 quite well also.

Even if the mythical "Apple Tax" were true, I'd pay it to get a nice stable UNIX workstation with support from major commercial desktop software vendors and no Linux dependency hell. It's worth it to me to NOT be stuck running Windows. Linux and BSD on the desktop are fun if you like being an isolated leper.

about two weeks ago
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The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

ogdenk Re:Railroads killed by the government... (195 comments)

— while, demanding the passengers "carry identification at all times"...

Yeah.... if I want to deal with TSA Gestapo bullshit, I'll just fly. The cost is comparable to flying if you buy a soda or two on the train. And you get there slower.

If taking the rails were less hassle, the trains were better maintained and slightly faster, I'd choose them every time for domestic travel over flying.

The TSA is KILLING commercial mass transit IMHO.

about two weeks ago
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X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

ogdenk Re:Soon... (224 comments)

Maybe I'm tired.... thought you trying to bash XQuartz for some reason.

I don't think anyone has compiled real statistics but I wouldn't be surprised if the number exceeds the number of FreeBSD desktop users by a large margin. It's certainly not an insignificant number but probably a fairly small percentage of OSX users. Most Mac users I know have Fink or Macports installed along with XQuartz but my numbers are likely skewed because I'm an IT monkey. Most of the "average" mac users I know only ended up using it to play with older versions of GIMP or OpenOffice.

about two weeks ago
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X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

ogdenk Re:Soon... (224 comments)

It's enough that it sees active development and a lot of use where old RISC-based UNIX boxes were once king.

In terms of installed base, there's FAR more headless Linux servers than desktops, so X11 users in general are "next to no one" right?

Generally it gets used when some "gotta-have-it" FOSS app lacks a proper mac port. X11 apps are less desirable because generally they suck compared to proper mac applications. And it's not XQuartz that's the problem, it's X in general. X11 on the mac is a last resort even if it works well because Apple's windowing system is THAT MUCH BETTER.

about two weeks ago
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X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

ogdenk Re:Soon... (224 comments)

And how many desktop Linux users do you know outside of the IT department besides a simple web-browsing box some guy set up for his Grandma?

Because pre-installed Linux desktops just fly off the shelves. Please. The only widely successful end-user Linux environment for daily use has been Android.

Both Linux and FreeBSD desktop users are a minority that few care about. Though if you count the Sony PS4 as desktop FreeBSD usage then it will soon trump Linux. Market share is a lame argument, FreeBSD is a great OS that is better documented than Linux and has several advantages as well as Linux binary compatibility with native performance.

about two weeks ago
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X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

ogdenk Re:Soon... (224 comments)

Oh, and in fact, if you try to run an X11 app without XQuartz installed on 10.9, it will ask you if you want some help installing XQuartz and will direct you to a site to download it.

about two weeks ago
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X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

ogdenk Re:Soon... (224 comments)

ML removed the old stale obsolete Apple-branded X11.app. It did not uninstall XQuartz. And XQuartz is quite actively maintained. Does the average kid running GarageBand need it? No.

It's been an optional install from the beginning because most folks don't need X11 apps. Native mac ports of apps are much nicer most of the time and pretty easy to find. Running legacy X11 apps is not something most people need. But if the need arises, you can, and it works REALLY well. LOTS of people run command-line FOSS tools under OSX though.

Apple solved the crappy UNIX desktop environment problem. They just didn't give away the source. I don't care if software is FOSS or not however. If it's good, I'll use it. If the price is too high, there's plenty of ways around that issue that any 14-yr-old kid with a web browser can find.

about two weeks ago
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X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

ogdenk Re:Systemd? Not on my system... (224 comments)

I'm still a little confused as to why the Linux crowd didn't just adopt launchd from Apple. It's open-source as well and while "different" it's launch scripts are readable and it does its job quite well. Personally, I prefer the old BSD rc scripts but I can tolerate launchd. Systemd looks like a far bigger mess and will end up fragmenting quite a few projects. I imagine GNOME functionality under FreeBSD will take a nosedive. systemd seems very "Un-UNIXy".

As long as systemd support remains OPTIONAL in X.Org I'll be a happy man. It's times like these I'm glad I'm a BSD guy.

about two weeks ago
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X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

ogdenk Re:Soon... (224 comments)

Funny until you consider the amount of OSX users running XQuartz. Most desktop BSD users migrated to Macs. All the FOSS goodies you can shake a stick at *AND* a native commercial desktop productivity/graphics/audio software base that isn't a joke. Not having to jump through hoops to exchange data with the rest of the world is nice.

about two weeks ago
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Alcatel-Lucent's XG-FAST Pushes 10,000Mbps Over Copper Phone Lines

ogdenk Re:Verizon and AT&T will have it next year (149 comments)

Nah, they'll do their best to bury this tech so they can justify giving their pet video streaming services priority and throttling others in the name of fighting network congestion even though their network was largely built with public funds.

about three weeks ago
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Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

ogdenk This guy is a complete idiot. (608 comments)

"Normal humans are effectively excluded from developing software. The real injustice of developer inequality is that it doesn't have to be this way."

Yeah, it kinda does. Face it, computers are the most complex machines ever designed and implemented by mankind. There is no way to make them much simpler without losing functionality and breaking a lot of things we take for granted.

I'm excluded from practicing law and medicine.... OH THE INJUSTICE. I should be able to take a 2 week course and read some picture books and perform surgery, right? IT and development are professional fields that require extensive training. Get over it.

We tried making programming accessible to the common man. These efforts were called things like BASIC, HyperCard and Applescript. And you know what? Common people couldn't even hack it with those. And they were braindead easy to develop in. They were fairly slow but novices could go from blank slate to working program quickly. And still..... most "normal humans" were confused.

"Normal humans" don't see how complex even basic tasks are to the computer itself. They think programmers just punch keys and click all day and it all comes "naturally". They think the job is easy. Computers are insanely complex. GUI's have just made the problem worse because the common misconception is that computers are "simpler" now.

The "normal human" computing skillset consists of opening Word or double clicking the blue E to get to facebook. Sorry, I don't want these people writing software. Most of them have no interest in writing software, either.

The biggest "injustice" is that IT/development folks are generally excluded from any other field after dealing with IT/development for a few years unless we can pull an MBA out of our ass. We are "excluded" far more than most others. And the common line of thought is "this stuff should be simpler so we don't need those weird IT people". The reality is "simpler for end users" means insane complexity under the hood.

about three weeks ago
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No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

ogdenk Re:19,000 (401 comments)

But not elsewhere. So why in the wide wide world of sports would they hire American's? It just doesn't make any sense. It is not life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and a guaranteed 6 figure income. That is not how any of this works.

There's one problem. $19,000/yr is *NOT* a living wage in the *ANYWHERE* in the US anymore. I've studied my whole life to get as good as I am at my craft. I shouldn't be forced to support a family of 5 on what basically amounts to minimum wage because some desperate Indian guy will do it for $8.00/hr.

I don't expect 6 figures (and don't get anywhere near it) but being able to own a home and make car payments with a white collar position should be expected. $35,000 to $60,000/yr for skilled tech talent that is hard to find in my area is not an unreasonable demand and I shouldn't be threatened with outsourcing for simply wanting to feed my kids. I don't want wealth. I want an existence where I don't have to struggle to simply survive ALONG WITH the high-stress common in IT positions. We are not unskilled labor. We are highly trained. We deserve a living wage.

In short, tailoring job ads so that ONLY an Indian guy would qualify and low-balling salary to the point where Americans could not AFFORD to take the position without living in a homeless shelter is a scumbag move. I sincerely hope folks doing such things choke on their f**king dinner.

I'd say we need to unionize but the problem is that IT departments are so small they can be replaced on a whim (at least it looks easy on paper to bean counters).

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Wants You To Trade Your MacBook Air In For a Surface Pro 3

ogdenk Re:Trade crap for crap (365 comments)

Calm your nerd rage down a bit.

Corporate drones insist their companies to buy them overpriced toys so they can feel adequate in the company of other desperate status seekers. News at 11.

That's funny, because no one else at my office wants a MacBook Air because they are too different from what they are used to. I have a MacBook Air and an iMac because I want a stable UNIX desktop with native MS Office without the constant hell of keeping a Linux box updated and dealing with apps that use a different UI toolkits. Like it or not, as far as commercial UNIX desktops go with a decent library of well supported common desktop applications, Apple is really the only game in town unless you just want to run Windows in VirtualBox.

And the Macbook Air isn't exactly poorly specced and it's QUITE well built. Sure you could probably find a cheaper PC laptop with a slightly zippier CPU but it still won't be quite the same machine. Apple does have some things going for it.

So, a quick, light, very thin dual-core mobile UNIX workstation with an SSD that I don't have to dick around with much to get a great productive system.... I'll pay an extra couple hundred for that. Some of us actually have work to do and don't want to have to jump through hoops to exchange data with others at work yet still want a UNIX box. We also want an OS that doesn't feel like a constant beta release with apps using a dozen different UI toolkits. Being able to run X11 apps if needed is nice too but that's usually not necessary.

Basically, Windows is ugly and inadequate for some of my needs, Linux/BSD kinda suck as desktop OS's, Sun is dead, SGI is dead, Oracle is evil..... doesn't leave you much choice if you want a ready-to-roll UNIX box these days that has the backing of any prominent commercial software vendors like MS or Adobe.

about a month ago
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Oracle Buying Micros Systems For $5.3 Billion

ogdenk Re:In other news (71 comments)

You jest but it's happening.... Subway recently dumped them as a POS supplier and will not support any new Micros installs and are hesitant to support older ones. They moved on to HP and Par. We went with Par for what should be obvious reasons for our locations.

Personally, I think Windows-based POS systems are a catastrophe waiting to happen. Doesn't matter who the supplier is, the OS vendor remains the same in most cases.

If Subway ported their POS software to run on top on Linux or BSD I'd be a much happier man and sleep more soundly at night. The Par POS hardware is awesome, various retail chains' choice of OS and lack of sensible security practices is still as much a problem as it was with Micros.

about a month ago
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Judge Orders DOJ To Turn Over FISA Surveillance Documents

ogdenk Re:OCA (184 comments)

Depends which version of the M-1 you are talking about. The carbine fires .30 Carbine, the Garand fires .30-06/7.62x63. The AR10 and M14 fire .308/7.62x51. Russians typically used 7.62x25 (aka .30 Tok), 7.62x39 and 7.62x54. There's LOTS of .30 cal rounds out there.

As far as 9mm goes there's a TON of different sizes. .357 Mag, .38 special, 9x17/.380ACP, 9x18 Makarov, 9x19 Luger, 9x23, etc, etc. To make matters even worse, some of them are even interchangeable to a degree. 9x18 pistols can fire .380ACP in some cases. .357's can shoot .38 special in a pinch, 7.62x25 pistols can often shoot 7.63 Mauser cartridges, etc.

Basically, if you don't know what you're doing and rely on a stamp on a gun to tell you what it shoots..... you should probably find a different hobby.

about a month and a half ago

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