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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

toejam13 Re:I LOVE READING PROPAGANDA (950 comments)

Geopolitics aside, some would say that a strong man who sees a horrific crime that he has the strength to stop has the moral responsibility to do so. ISIS has conquered territory by force of arms - do we want to allow that sort of thing to be acceptable on the world stage again? The way ISIS is treating their conquered subjects is horrific and appalling, and we should probably put a stop to it.

Some would also suggest that the current instability within the Near and Middle East is the result of European colonial powers drawing national borders in such a way to cause instability and invoke inter-racial and inter-religious tension.

Perhaps the better solution is to withdraw from the area and let the regional powers work the issue themselves. If that means a century of warfare, not unlike what Europe experienced after the Protestant Reformation, then so be it.

Sure, such a conflict would result in a spike in the price of oil. But last time oil went above $160/bbl, we saw factories in North America being brought out of mothball, a renewed interest in alternative fuels (methane, nuclear, solar, wind), higher urban growth, an increase in the use of transit and a decrease in the use of petroleum derived fertilizers. Our economy and environment actually benefit in many ways when oil gets expensive.

3 days ago
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Verizon Working On a La Carte Internet TV Service

toejam13 Re:Still behind the times (108 comments)

I believe that the boat for à la carte channel lineups has already sailed. Back during the 1990s when digital cable and mini-sat were starting to hit their prime, à la carte channel lineups would have been cutting edge.

But technology has since moved forward, and à la carte programming is now a mature market. Services like Netflix, Hulu, Prime and the like give you access to individual shows at any time. And you now have an entire generation that has been raised with DVRs, PPV and BitTorrent. Broadcast schedules are increasingly seen as antiquated.

Lastly, there is a larger force at play here. People aren't just cutting their cords because of price or because of poor quality content. They're cutting because they have better things to do. Video games and the Internet now consume a large chunk of my "wired" free time while cooking and home improvement stuff that I learned on PBS and online takes up the rest. I don't need 299 channels of crap to keep me entertained.

about a week ago
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Is It Time To Split Linux Distros In Two?

toejam13 Re:Nonsense (280 comments)

Except Microsoft went this EXACT same route of merging them all into a single system starting with Windows 2000.

My understanding is that the Windows NT series has always used a unified code tree for Workstation and Server, save for a few exotic one-off builds like NT4 Terminal Server and NT4 Enterprise Edition with PSE-36 support.

Maybe you remember the days when there was a separate uniprocessor and multiprocessor kernel? Both versions were available with the Workstation edition.

But otherwise, you're spot on. Mostly it came down to kernel tunings defined in the registry, available packages and licensing.

about two weeks ago
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Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

toejam13 Re:*drool* (181 comments)

I second this. It isn't always about performance.

I recently replaced my Core i7-930 (Nehalem) system with a Core i7-4790S (Haswell) system. The new system is modestly faster. But mostly, it requires significantly less power, resulting in a cooler and quieter system. My case fans now only run when gaming for long periods.

If I lived in a colder part of the country, I probably would have kept my i7-930 for another couple of years. But I live in an area where A/C is a must. So I expect the upgrade to eventually pay for itself in the form of reduced electrical bills.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

toejam13 Look it up (382 comments)

You could look up games based off of their annual sales rank or based off of the number of awards they've won. Probably more accurate than asking everyone for their personal favorite. Some of the lists are broken down to genre specific categories, so if a first person shooter isn't your thing, you can always look for what is.

about three weeks ago
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ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science

toejam13 Re:why can the world (329 comments)

If there is a social cause, then society can work to undo it. If it is a biological cause, then we can stop wasting time and effort thinking it is a social cause.

Had my mom been born a decade later or in a more progressive area, she probably would have pursued a career as a chemist. But my grandmother wouldn't allow it and many of her peers discouraged her. She became a nurse instead. She still has some regret over the decision decades later.

In her case, she wasn't so meek as to dismiss being a chemist from the start. She actually stuck her neck out only to be swatted down. But I bet that many women of her era would have convinced themselves that being a chemist was a foolish notion and wouldn't have pursued it at all. That's social self-regulation. That should be eliminated.

about a month ago
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ACM Blames the PC For Driving Women Away From Computer Science

toejam13 Re:why can the world (329 comments)

But why do they like different career paths? Is it that there is a biological difference that guides men and women to different career choices, or is there some social prodding that causes men and women to self regulate?

On the flip side, there have been few articles that talk about why men often avoid female dominated jobs such as primary school teaching, nursing, housekeeping, secretarial / office management, social working, accounting and the like. Often, it turns out to be self-regulating. Remember the movie Meet the Fockers and how Ben Stiller's character was given so much crap for being a male nurse? Yet male nurses are in high demand because they can lift heavier patients and better restrain unruly patients.

about a month ago
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If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

toejam13 Re:What's the point? (511 comments)

Both Java and C# are nice in that they give you more power than many scripting languages, while obscuring some of the headaches (read: pointers) that come with lower-level languages like C. Both are [IMHO] also cleaner implementations of an object-oriented language than C++.

Another benefit of Java and C# are in their standard libraries. They're a bit more refined and a lot more consistent than the standard libC library. There has been a huge amount of drift in the libC world since wchars, long longs and safer array handling functions have been adopted. When writing portable C code for both Visual C and Klang, I'm constantly having to write wrapper code that deals with missing, renamed or depreciated functions on either the Windows or BSD side.

Lastly, if your Java or C# apps are speed sensitive, you just do the same thing that people have been doing with C and C++ for years: run your code through a profiler and then write your time critical code in a lower-level language that you call as an external procedure. I haven't written a large app entirely in ASM since my Amiga days (even then, it wasn't the norm).

When learning a new language, students shouldn't have to worry about if Getopt() is a valid function or not. Save that for a more advanced class. With Java, you can assign homework and know that students with Windows, Linux, BSD or MacOS will have the same environment. And in the real world, Java and C# eliminate some of the hassles of the C and ASM worlds, while still allowing you to reach back using external calls when needed. I really do find myself programming in C and C++ less and less every year.

about a month ago
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New HP Laptop Would Mean Windows at Chromebook Prices

toejam13 Re:2GB of RAM? (215 comments)

That could be further reduced if Microsoft were to release another thin client edition of Windows.

Windows XP Fundamentals was great in this regard as it was based upon XP Embedded and not XP Workstation. It required about a third fewer resources, making it ideal for older PII and K6 machines.

about a month ago
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Microsoft Surface Drowning?

toejam13 Re:Confusing the issue (337 comments)

Yeah, like lack of drivers for completely contemporary peripherals ... Manufacturers of equipment don't feel like writing drivers for equipment they no longer sell.

Part of the problem is that device standard committees have failed to introduce proper generic device classes for their buses. I should be able to attach any printer, scanner, audio i/o, modem, mass storage or the like to my machine and it should work with a lowest common feature set using a generic driver. The lack of a custom driver shouldn't resign a device to paperweight status.

This isn't just a Microsoft issue. This is an every OS issue.

But in a world without generic drivers, either direction comes with its pitfalls. When hardware manufacturers are maintainers of the device drivers, you end up with hardware with a short shelf-life in order to sell more hardware. Just look at how notorious HP's printer division is with regards to this. But when the OS manufacturers are the maintainers, you end up with fewer supported devices. Somebody is going to cry that their new 802.11ac dongle doesn't have a driver, but the EISA NE2000 NIC in their junk box does.

Yeah, I mean the remaining Windows machine I have is running Vista, whatever the latest SP is, and it's okay. But it took too long to get that way.

I don't disagree, but it did come up to speed faster than NT 4.0 did, an old darling of long-time NT users. It wasn't until SP3 that NT 4.0 was really stable.

What? Seriously, why do people put up with absolute crap from Windows and still worship it?

I think many people have a more pragmatic view of the situation. Switching platforms can be a complicated endeavor for many people and businesses, laced with its own set of pitfalls. If you want to keep your WinAPI software library, your choice in platforms shrinks considerably. So people stick with the platform they know, selectively picking versions that work for them

Microsoft knows this. Shame and delayed sales are insufficient to deter such behavior. But even if they wanted to change, the internal culture at Microsoft is so broken and substandard that I don't think they could change course even if they wanted to.

So other than to suck it up, what are you going to do?

about a month ago
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The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

toejam13 Re:COBOL was better than JavaScript. (294 comments)

There's a good chance that, without JavaScript, the web would have vanished. You probably don't remember all the hype surrounding the "x internet" back in the early 2000's, but the web was on it's way out. If not for JavaScript (and XHR) the web would likely have been replaced by some other set of technologies.

We probably would have ended up with some variant of REXX or TCL on the client-side. Thankfully we didn't end up with Perl.

about a month ago
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Microsoft Surface Drowning?

toejam13 Re:Confusing the issue (337 comments)

They've used up their allotment of fuckup forgiveness. Starting largely with Vista

I consider much of the negative criticism of Windows Vista to be vastly overblown. People forget that dot0 releases of NT tend to be turds and that they should reserve judgement until SP1 arrives.

When looking at Vista SP1, I had mostly good experiences with it. My largest complaint was the WDDM video driver requirements for Areo. Nvidia's failure to release WDDR drivers for the Geforce 5 series GPUs and Intel's failure to do the same for GMA 8xx and 91x series GPUs was a huge disappointment. But is that Microsoft's fault or the hardware manufacturers? And after some fuss, I was still able to use i855 XPDM video drivers with Vista for my old laptop. It is running W7 today.

Other major issues such as totalitarian DRM and Driver Signature Enforcement can be somewhat side-stepped. The vastly higher processor and memory minimum requirements are a welcome step to get people onto machines that can actually run apps and not just the OS (not that they're actually enforced by either the OS or the installer).

Poor driver support for cheap and unpopular legacy hardware is nothing new with dot0 releases of NT. Coming from Windows XP x64 edition, Vista was actually a step up in that regard. Same goes for the use of legacy software packages. I had more issues going from XP x86 to XP x64 than I did XP x86 to Vista x86.

UAC was annoying. So were some of the new file ownership issues. But I'm not a novice. They were easy enough to disable.

about a month ago
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Do Apple and Google Sabotage Older Phones? What the Graphs Don't Show

toejam13 Re:No need for a conspiracy (281 comments)

Oh, one other thing, once I tossed out iPhones, I went to Android. You certainly do not have to worry about updates rendering your phones useless in America. The carriers actively block all updates whatsoever because they refuse to update their own "control" software that they built into the original Android software that they shipped in your phone. That means unless you are running Cyanogenmod or some other custom "ROM", you will never see an update... which means that the updates do not actually slow down your phone because their is no economic incentive to do so!

That's not exactly true. Google has moved a lot of their code out of their kernel and into the Google Play Service in order to side-step the problem of carrier delays and refusals in rolling out new kernels. So if you update your copy of Google Play and related apps, you are getting a major update.

Having said all that, I did not notice any major slowdowns when upgrading my Galaxy S1 from Froyo to Gingerbread. I did notice a slowdown in bootup times when installing Cyanogenmod 7, which got progressively worse with CM9 and CM10. But CM9 and CM10 were about the same speed once loaded, and were only slightly slower than CM7. I never noticed any slowdowns with newer versions of Play Services.

So perhaps the CM team is smart enough to use per-device build options that compile code optimized for each handset as opposed to using a single kernel binary across multiple platforms.

about 2 months ago
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Do Apple and Google Sabotage Older Phones? What the Graphs Don't Show

toejam13 Re:Android updates vs Google Play Services updates (281 comments)

Yes. The Android Play Service has become an abstraction layer between the kernel and the userland. It is how Google sidesteps many of the issues with old kernels still in the wild.

about 2 months ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

toejam13 Re:Pft (962 comments)

I did something like this back in the days when IRC was popular. I picked a female nickname and joined some generic chat channels. Immediately, I received a large number of private A/S/L messages from people. A couple of people started asking for pics via private message. A few others told me what state they were in and suggested that they'd be willing to travel if I lived in the vicinity. It got really weird very fast.

Having said that, generic chat rooms like #teenchat and #friendly were the scum of the IRC. They seemed to pull in some really creepy people. There were tamer rooms where weirdos like that would get kickbanned fairly quick. But it sucks that people can't hang out in generic chat rooms without some guy offering up a photo of his junk. What the hell. Does that even work?

about 2 months ago
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The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

toejam13 Re:Pft (962 comments)

Melodramatic? Have you ever listened to the audio chats of FPS co-op games when women are playing with men? I've heard guys who threatened to hunt down their female opponents so they could rape them and murder them just because they got their ass handed to them in a game. That is not juvenile "boys will be boys" behavior. That's somebody who might violently act out if the right circumstances (alcohol, drugs, peer pressure, stress, etc..) were to happen.

That's just gaming. You should read some of the stories about women who get involved in politics. Some people get really unhinged when you attack their personal values. Then you have some guys who go completely off the deep end when it is a woman doing it. Threats of murder come quickly and often. It is sadistic and it is ugly.

about 2 months ago
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The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000

toejam13 Re:Amiga 2000's are plagued with battery leakage (192 comments)

Right, you suggested that the A2000 should have come with a faster chip and crystal. and I'm saying that barring a compatibility mode (e.g. turbo switch) it would have completely shit upon the Amiga software ecosystem. Software on the A2000 would run on the A500. If that weren't the case, the A500 would have withered and died and then C= would have had no chance whatsoever with their platform because it was the cheap end of the spectrum that made it interesting.

Developers tend to write software for the lowest common denominator of a platform, not the highest. It is especially true regarding games. So the problem wouldn't be that the A500 would become orphaned - the problem would be that the extra abilities of the A2000 would mostly be ignored. Just look at the Commodore 16, Amiga ECS and Amiga AGA platforms as examples.

One problem with introducing a 14MHz processor is that it would break software that requires an exact 7MHz clock. But most software for the time period was actually well behaved on faster processor clocks. Programmers mostly relied on V_Blank and CIA interrupts for their timing, not processor ticks. The reason so many programs failed on '020 and '030 machines wasn't clock speed - it was instruction caches that broke self-modifying code and memory address tricks that weren't 32bit address bus clean.

I'd argue that in 1987, you could release a 14MHz system without a turbo clock and it wouldn't be the end of the world. There really wasn't a lot of software to break since the Amiga didn't explode as a gaming platform until after the A500 was released. Even then, most of the initial buyers of the A2000 wanted it for business software, not gaming. I don't think they'd care if a couple games didn't work. Their productivity apps would run faster and that is what would matter most to them.

about 2 months ago
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The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000

toejam13 Re:Amiga 2000's are plagued with battery leakage (192 comments)

Yeah, for those users, Amiga offered the A2000 with an accelerator, and called it the A2500. You probably recall.

The A2620 accelerator card used in the A2500/020 wasn't immediately available at the launch of the A2000. It was released about a year later (1988). It was a very expensive card, supported a maximum of 4MB of DRAM and it took a significant speed hit when it needed to access anything off card.

That's why they didn't do that. They wanted to maintain the library of software that would run on the A500. Without that, the A500 would have been a sad joke.

I didn't suggest that A500 should come with a 68000@14. Designing the A500 as a cost reduced A1000 was a good call.

That difference is minuscule compared to having an '020, let alone an '030.

A stock A2000 can do around 700 dhrystones, an A2000 with an AdSpeed '000@14 can do about 1350 dhrystones and an A2500/020 can do around 2060 dhrystones. I recall the A2620 being several thousand dollars when first released. For most users, the costs of going with an '020 just did not justify the benefits.

about 2 months ago
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Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

toejam13 Re:Don't buy cheap android (291 comments)

How about an article on the cheapest phone you can turn into an AOSP/Cyanogen handset with good results?

According to their device wiki, Cyanogenmod has current support for three slate phones with QWERTY keyboards: the Motorola Droid 4 (Verizon), Motorola Photon Q (Sprint) and the Samsung Relay 4G (T-Mobile). The Samsung Stratosphere II (Verizon) is not supported.

Nah, why bother; that would't start a flamewar!

Because the guy has a point. As you go farther beyond mainstream flagship models, you encounter more and more quirks with most smartphones. Samsung in particular has a history of releasing buggy handsets for Verizon (the Fascinate and the Stratosphere I & II were all heavily criticized for their bugs). Given the maturity of the AOSP code base at this point, it can be guessed that manufacturers can't leave well enough alone and are unnecessarily modifying their internal Android trees without proper bug testing.

The larger issue is that Google doesn't require every manufacturer to offer a Google Play Edition of their handset. People should have a choice between stock and modified.

/runs GPe on my GS4

about 2 months ago
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The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000

toejam13 Re:Amiga 2000's are plagued with battery leakage (192 comments)

Though the CPU did not change, there were a lot of changes in the overall chipset

My largest complaint about the A2000 is that it included the same 68000-8 processor clocked at 7.1MHz as the A500 and A1000. It would have been advantageous to have included a 68000-16 processor clocked at 14.2MHz for the more strenuous workloads that A2000 users tended to perform. It might have also discouraged programming that relied on a 7.1MHz clock.

I had a friend with an AdSpeed accelerator module (68000@14) for his A2000 and it made a significant difference. After spending considerably more for an A3000-16, I ended up regretting the decision given the costs versus the benefits.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Amiga looses Seattle area stadium naming bid

toejam13 toejam13 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

toejam13 (958243) writes "Amiga, Inc. has recently been negotiating for the naming rights for a proposed hockey arena in Kent, Washington. The city required a $2.5 million deposit, which Amiga ultimately failed to procure after much bickering and backtracking on Amiga's part. Unfortunately, this is an additional black eye regarding the company's dealings in Washington state, which includes an eviction from their former Snoqualmie offices and a bankruptcy that left several ex-employees with thousands in unpaid wages."
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