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Comments

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Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

slaker Server 2012 already looks like Windows 8. (321 comments)

The special magic thing is to hit the Windows key + X. That brings up a menu that has pretty much everything you'd want to do from a start menu. Win + X also works on desktop Windows 8.x.

The hilarious thing to me is that the Windows 8/Server 2012 line is ironically the most keyboard centric version of Windows I've used, but all people want to do is bitch about the Modern (Tile) interface that you can completely, totally ignore if you're on something that has a real keyboard and mouse.

Also, Windows RT? It's not awful. Printing and scanning work great and they have real USB and storage support. Surfaces ship with Office pre-installed. RT is missing a lot of media consumption tools that are present on other mobile OSes, but as a device for doing work they're credible. I'd rather have an RT-based Surface than anything that runs iOS, though I'd prefer a good quality Android device to either.

4 days ago
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IRS Recycled Lerner Hard Drive

slaker I've seen IRS computers (682 comments)

An acquaintance of mine is a senior guy in Chicago's IRS office. He does large corporate audits, which means he's sitting across from guys in $2000 suits all day. The laptop he was carrying until late 2012 had a Windows 2000 license sticker on it and his "new" government-issued laptop is an HP that was manufactured in 2004. These guys really do make more with less and I have no trouble believing that the equipment Lerner was using was painfully obsolete and used until it died.

about a month ago
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The Amazon Fire TV Is Kind of a Mess

slaker Re:no local content playback == mess (96 comments)

A Pivos Xios running Linux firmware with XBMC might be a decent fit. It can't keep up well at high bit rates, but the one I have can and and does play 1080p content including AC3 and DTS.

about 4 months ago
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The Amazon Fire TV Is Kind of a Mess

slaker Re:Local content? (96 comments)

This review read like an Apple user looking for things to whine about. I don't recall seeing anywhere in the verbiage of press over the last two days any promise from Amazon that it would be some universal media-seeking device.

That being said, like any respectable media streamer these days, it DOES support Plex access, which should be your go-to tool for local content access. If it's on the same LAN with a client, you can also connect to it via DLNA and thereby use it with pretty much set top box smart enough to connect to the internet.

The single best STB I've ever found in terms of capability is the LG Smart TV Upgrader, which LG sold for about two months back in 2009 or so. It supports SMB, AFP and NFS, but it also has support for Netflix, Youtube, Hulu Plus and Amazon. It can play h.264, open VideoTS folders and it doesn't have a problem with AC3 or DTS audio. Unfortunately, it's slow as hell and the UI is ugly. I'm not entirely sure if LG is still releasing firmware updates for them but they're a pretty good alternative to a fully functional HTPC.

about 4 months ago
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Why Movie Streaming Services Are Unsatisfying — and Will Stay That Way

slaker Plex + Media collection = Who gives a crap (323 comments)

There's this thing called Plex Media Server.

Plex accesses locally defined content libraries, scrapes them for metadata and makes them available both locally for clients smart enough to play back the raw data or transcodes them for access by dumb (DLNA, like Playstations or the like) or reduced-capability clients like iFruits. Furthermore, it negotiates authentication-based access and sharing with the Plex Web Service, meaning that you can expose your media collection over the internet, for access outside your home or use the service to share with others. Plex isn't supported by as large a collection of consumer electronics as Netflix, but it is on a lot of smart TV systems and runs on most mobile and desktop platforms.

If you already have a respectable collection of local media and a half-decent computer you're willing to leave on, you more or less have a streaming media service that is entirely under your control. If you're enough of a nerd to be reading this deep in a Slashdot comment thread, you're also enough of a nerd to figure out how to leverage Plex or something like it to make a content service that is satisfactory for your needs.

about 4 months ago
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Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

slaker Re:Netflix discs are still a compelling product (490 comments)

8 at a time Netflix costs about the same amount as purchasing three new Blu-Ray releases or taking myself and my SO to the theater three times. Do you judge me more or less harshly for watching more than three movies a month?

about 4 months ago
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Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

slaker Netflix discs are still a compelling product (490 comments)

I've had an 8-at-a-time Netflix subscription since 2000 and I've been copying discs for that entire time. My goal is to touch a disc one time and Netflix facilitates that - I rip the disc and send it back. I don't mind doing it (at this point it's automated). My local copies tend to be better than the pirated product and it's not like my ISP is going to rat me out for doing it.
In theory I can download faster than Netflix can mail me discs, but dealing with physical discs more or less eliminates the risk factors from piracy. I'm willing to accept the slight inconvenience of having to put a disc in a drive for that.

about 4 months ago
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Mozilla Scraps Firefox For Windows 8, Citing Low Adoption of Metro

slaker I hate to be the guy who defends Metro but... (200 comments)

I actually kind of like the Surface2 for some tasks, since it's thin and light for a 10" tablet and has a nice keyboard and a really nice screen. I often use it as a second or tertiary screen while I'm working since it's pretty easy to drop in to an RDP session or open Office documents and it can deal with printers and scanners just as well as any Windows 8 PC. It's a genuine workplace tablet.

But web browsing on it BLOWS. Metro-IE has to be switched to desktop mode to make any configuration changes (say, changing your default search engine or adding a TPL), but desktop-IE's controls are too damned small to be used with a finger and switching back and forth is PITA as well. Tabs and favorites are a hassle in Metro mode. It's just too much an ugly duckling. Windows RT has another general purpose browser, UC Browser, but that doesn't really improve the user experience over Metro-IE.

I actually find myself using the Metro-based NewsBento for about 75% of the web browsing I do on my Surface2. NewsBento is an RSS reader, which takes care of most of my normal sort of reading, but that doesn't really help for quick searches. I otherwise get a better web browsing experience with Firefox on my 5" phone than on a 10" tablet with IE.

So anyway, I want a decent arm's length, touch interface browsing experience for the devices I have. Microsoft doesn't give it to me, and I've been holding out hope for Firefox (or to a lesser extent Google) to make something decent. Honestly, if the Surface2 had a decent web browser (and a better Metro-based local media player, though VLC was just released for Metro a couple days ago), it would be a vastly more credible general-purpose mobile device.

about 4 months ago
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Sony & Panasonic Next-Gen Optical Discs Moving Forward

slaker Re:Amazing! (250 comments)

The replacement for tape is different tape. Optical media isn't going to catch up to the data densities or transfer rates that tape has to offer any time soon. The (kinda old) LTO4 changer I use for my personal stuff handles 800GB/tape and only needs about three hours per tape. This new disc format isn't even going to be competitive with an eight year old tape spec.

about 5 months ago
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Blockbuster To Close Remaining US Locations

slaker Re:A few are still around (419 comments)

Does Redbox rent porn?

Communities that don't have access to fast internet services and likewise don't have video stores are definitely in the land that time forgot. I have a few cousins who'd probably have to make two 70 mile round trips if they really wanted to see "I Was a Teenage MILF #71" since there's neither a mom and pop video store nor any internet service other than dialup or satellite available to them.

about 9 months ago
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Blockbuster To Close Remaining US Locations

slaker Re:About time (419 comments)

... or even a well-encoded BD rip from a torrent site?

about 9 months ago
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Blockbuster To Close Remaining US Locations

slaker Re:About time (419 comments)

I can't say I've ever had a movie-watching emergency of such intractable, spontaenous nature that I had absolutely nothing suitable on hand.

about 9 months ago
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Blockbuster To Close Remaining US Locations

slaker Re:Wait, what? (419 comments)

Here in the midwestern US we have Family Video, which at one time also had pretty decent dialup service. All the local Family Video stores I'm aware of are still open, have free titles, rent most stock for $1 and have a porn section. As the last chain standing I'd say they did it right. I've been an eight-DVDs-at-a-time Netflix subscriber since 1999 but I'm glad the local brick and mortar store (not vending machine) is around. Sometime it's nice to just browse.

about 9 months ago
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The Case Against Gmail

slaker Re:Ed Bott is a clueless dolt (435 comments)

Since no one has ever called me that in an email message, I'm sure that I would remember.
I'm not saying I can remember the exact shuffle order from a deck of cards, but I definitely don't have a problem with names, dates or phone numbers.

about 9 months ago
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The Case Against Gmail

slaker Re:What? (435 comments)

OK actually he's right that different IMAP clients interact with different IMAP servers when displaying folder structures. Gmail isn't the end all and be-all of IMAP and I don't think every IMAP client should just standardize on the way Google does something, but you really can run in to issues where three different clients name or use certain folders on the same server differently.

about 9 months ago
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The Case Against Gmail

slaker Re:who cares? (435 comments)

People still use email for anything other than verifying forum accounts and retrieving forgotten passwords? There are so many faster and easier ways to communicate

That's possibly generational. I don't like to send SMSes because of the character limit and the idea that it's at least nominally tied to one device. I don't use any social networking services because I've actually read their terms of service. I think phone conversations are intrusive and damaging to my concentration, so I prefer not to talk on the phone, and many slow typists I know dislike any sort of realtime IM system.

Most of the people I know who dislike E-mail don't like the "formality" of having to write complete sentences or are paranoid about the possibility of some kind of record being kept of the exchange, but to me it's clearly the best general-purpose communication tool available most of the time. The haters tend to be young and want to conduct as much communication as possible through either Facebook or SMS.

I don't know if that's you or not, but I will say that E-mail isn't going away any time soon regardless of your wishes to the contrary.

about 9 months ago
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The Case Against Gmail

slaker Re:Ed Bott is a clueless dolt (435 comments)

I keep every single message I've gotten since 1993 in the same inbox with perhaps a half dozen total messages segregated into a different folder. That's around 300,000 emails. I have a very good memory so I seldom need to search, but when I do, I've never found a weakness in the search component of any mail client I care to name, even going back to elm or pine.
The greatest degree of flexibility comes with having all my messages in the same directory; over the last 20 years I've treated it as a quasi-journal and usually if I go back to read a message or two for a given date I can give a pretty accurate summation of everything else I did on that day, so as an organizational structure I'd say it works just fine.

about 9 months ago
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The Case Against Gmail

slaker Re:What? (435 comments)

There's an official Gmail client for iOS if you really, REALLY need push updates.
Does the iOS mail client not do IMAP push?

about 9 months ago

Submissions

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What to do with an old software collection?

slaker slaker writes  |  more than 5 years ago

slaker (53818) writes "Yesterday I went to visit a gentleman named Bob. Bob's partner was a computer collector. Bob's house is filled with at least a few thousand boxed copies of Apple II, Atari, Commodore and Macintosh software, much of it still in shrink wrap. There were a few games (Temple of Apshai, made in 1979, the original Ultima for Apple II), but staggering amounts of graphics and productivity software, including boxed copy of Photoshop from v. 1 to v.5, Freehand, PageMaker, Poser, and Illustrator. I understand there are working professionals out in the world who probably have a lot of the same stuff sitting on their shelves at work, but how many people have thousands of titles, with all the packaging, books, disks and possibly still unsealed?

There's a similar collection of hardware as well, including a number of old Macs, Commodores and a Lisa, all in their original packaging.

I told Bob that I didn't really have a way to evaluate this collection as trash or treasure, and I'm sort of stumped on how to do so. Do the people of Slashdot have any ideas?"

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