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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.

3 days ago

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 two weeks ago

The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

toejam13 Re:COBOL was better than JavaScript. (291 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 two weeks ago

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 two weeks ago

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 a month ago

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 a month ago

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 1 month ago

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 1 month ago

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 1 month ago

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 a month ago

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 a month ago

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 a month ago

The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000

toejam13 Re:I disagree with you... (192 comments)

Emulating hardware isn't perfect, there are things you can do to the original hardware that would literally be impossible to do with an Emulator.

When it comes to running software packages and demos for those old computer systems, I disagree. Most modern emulators include cycle exact modes and include known quirks, so just about everything works. But if you're talking about the hardware side, wanting to use your C64 user port for IO control of external devices, then you have a point. Most people don't do that, though. They'd get a Raspberry Pi or some other modern tinkerer system.

about a month ago

Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

toejam13 Re:The future turned out to not be so cool (129 comments)

A decade ago, nerds sometimes posited that in the future, connectivity will be so fast, RAM/storage space so large, and processors so powerful that the world might just switch to lossless formats. Here we are in 2014 still trying to trim a couple of percentage points off JPEG file sizes, and web designers still advise keeping images under 100k each or so.

Some of that is due to the rise of mobile computing. The computing power and data connectivity of mobile handsets are running about a decade behind desktop computers, so the least common denominator problem has remained somewhat static. And even as that market matures, rural areas and users will continue to lag for some time.

In addition, for any increase in computing power and data storage, we've often seen an equal increase in resolution and bit depth. A decade ago, 480p videos were the norm. Now we're now up to 1080p videos. Within a decade, it'll be 2160p videos. Same deal with digital cameras that have jumped from 5MP or less to 20MP or more today.

I'd argue that lossless formats like FLAC and ALAC were adopted early in the audio world because music files have generally remained fixed at 44.1kHz × 16bit × 2 channels. Movies have somewhat settled at 48.8kHz × 24bit × 6 channels (with 192kHz being the ceiling). They're also relatively small from the start. Lossless formats in the video world outside of the editing room or archival repository don't make sense. Same with raw image formats for cameras.

We've also seen an increase in the number of users, which in turn results in an increase in the amount of data. How many MySpace visitors were there in 2006? How about Facebook today? About ten times as many. And Facebook encourages more uploading than MySpace did. If people are satisfied with good enough, it just doesn't make economic sense to go lossless.

about a month ago

Three-Year Deal Nets Hulu Exclusive Rights To South Park

toejam13 Re:Not worth it (138 comments)

I completely agree. Why should I pay $8/month to watch annoying, repetitive commercials from Hulu Plus when I can play Netflix roughly the same for ad-free content?

Dear Jack in the Box advertising department:

When I see the same JitB ad played each and every single damn commercial break, every single day for a week or more, it makes me never want to do business with you. EVER. So perhaps you should talk to whatever ad network Hulu and Comedy Central use and have them put a limit on the number of times your ads are displayed to a viewer.

Because at this point, I'd rather stick rusty spoons up my ass than to give your company any of my money.

about a month ago

Chinese Hackers Infiltrate Firms Using Malware-Laden Handheld Scanners

toejam13 Re:China-based threat actors (93 comments)

They are probably using Windows XP Embedded (XPe), which is a customizable version of the OS. Customers can strip the OS down to only the components they need, significantly reducing the footprint of the OS.

XPe benefits from being able to use standard XP hardware drivers. Sometimes a driver simply isn't available for Linux, QNX, VxWorks or other embedded OSes. That's one reason that OS/2 based ATMs are disappearing - not because of security, but because drivers for newer card readers don't exist.

Lastly, you'd be surprised at what a modern scanner looks like. It doesn't just read barcodes and go beep. My workplace uses scanners for inventory tracking, and they come with a full GUI where we can associate new parts with a chassis, report drives being shredded, and just about anything you can think of inventory related.

about a month and a half ago

Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

toejam13 Re:You're much better off investing in speakers (502 comments)

As somebody who has been using an external DAC since the late 1990s, I'm getting a kick out of this response.

I'm actually surprised that inexpensive modern motherboards still include a DAC. You'd think it would all be coaxial SPDIF and HDMI output at this point. The freebie headsets I get when enrolling in online classes are all USB these days. Less and less seems to rely on analog outputs.

about a month and a half ago

Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

toejam13 Re:another language shoved down your throat (415 comments)

Java is also nice in that it was part of the C syntax family. If you know Java, it is trivial to switch to C# and moderately easy to switch to C++. C is different enough to cause grief, but people do catch on to functional languages and memory pointers.

I learned Visual BASIC during an early CS class. Wasn't really able to make much from that and apply it towards other languages. Also learned Perl during an early CS class. It was so alien from other C syntax languages (and most other languages in general) that I also couldn't apply it toward other languages. They were interesting languages to learn and I did pick up some knowledge regarding general programming, but I think I gained a lot less than had Java been one of my first CS course languages.

about a month and a half ago

Airbus Patents Windowless Cockpit That Would Increase Pilots' Field of View

toejam13 Re:Prior art (468 comments)

I thought of that, too. The use of video screens for aircraft like the Concorde has been discussed for years. Unless there are specifics in their patent that are new and ingenious, I would think that they'd have a hard time with the patent in the courts.

about a month and a half ago

Unicode 7.0 Released, Supporting 23 New Scripts

toejam13 Pictographic symbols (108 comments)

Good. If you do a search of Wingdings on Google, many of the top results are questions on how to use the font with browsers other than IE. Since it isn't a Unicode compliant font, you can't. This update helps correct that problem.

about 2 months ago



Amiga looses Seattle area stadium naming bid

toejam13 toejam13 writes  |  about 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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