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Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

zlogic Re:nah it's a dead cat bounce (269 comments)

"Modern" solutions like syncing only a handful of songs you expect to listen or streaming everything is much more difficult than carrying a complete audio library with you.
My current music library is something like 120 gigs. That includes
* regular 256-320kb/s MP3 albums
* FLAC albums
* soundtracks from games
* "bonus" stuff like remixes, instrumentals
* random compilations grouped into hierarchical folders
* stuff shared by friends which is yet to be listened to be deleted or saved
* "souvenir" CDs bought from obscure street bands without proper tags

The only players which can keep my complete music libraries are HDD-based. And the only way I can keep my audio organized is to keep it in folders rather than a single list with 11000+ tracks, 500+ artists, 1000+ albums.
The only portable player capable of carrying all my library was an iPod Classic. I even wrote a script to replicate the folder-based organization into hierarchical lists in iTunes. Being able to instantly play a song you haven't heard in many years, or being able to choose a song which matches you mood is really awesome. Having multiple days of battery life is also kind of impressive.
The only thing wrong with iPod Classic 6G was its audio quality. It seems Apple's vision was for Classic at that time was to be a video player capable of carrying TV shows (and plugging into a TV if necessary), that's why filling it with music made the library completely unmanageable.

about a week ago
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Flaw in New Visa Cards Would Let Hackers Steal $1M Per Card

zlogic Re:Good (126 comments)

RFID in passports requires to enter some passport fields (like last name, date of birth, passport number etc.) in order to be unlocked. In order to "steal" RFID data, you need to open it and read data from the photo page.

about a month and a half ago
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Apple Releases CUPS 2.0

zlogic Re:The future of printing? (178 comments)

For home, printers are indeed used much less than 10-15 years ago.
Photos can be demonstrated on a tablet or TV, short documents and books can be read on a tablet. Printing emails is no longer the only option of keeping them safe. Maps can be used on a phone instead of being printed.

But if you need a formal or signed document, printers are still heavily used. I don't know how it's in the US, but in some countries you need stuff like
- passport copies for opening bank accounts, car registration, and so on
- offline bank payments (required as proof of payment by many government organizations here)
- visa application forms and supporting documents - can be over a hundred pages in total when preparing documents for the whole family.
This stuff is often difficult to get right the first time, so having a printer at home is much less stressful than driving to a print shop several times to get everything right.

Now in corporate/education, you may also need printed and signed confirmations for other stuff (especially when required by law). One more thing for which printers are better than tablets is handouts - making notes and diagrams with a pen is much more effective than fingerpainting on a tablet/touchpad or typing text on a laptop.

And let's not forget that printed documents never run out of batteries and have to be seriously damaged to be unusable. If you have a printed boarding pass, it's much less likely to fail.

about 2 months ago
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HP Is Planning To Split Into Two Separate Businesses, Sources Say

zlogic Re:HP (118 comments)

HP's consumer and enterprise laptops are entirely different and seem to be designed by different companies.
The Envy, Pavilion, "Essentials" lines may appear like chinese-designed OEM machines in an HP-styles package.
The Pro*, Elite* series are very different. They have
- custom BIOS with tons of options (unlike the consumer versions with almost no options and a text-based interface like you see in cheap OEM motherboards)
- much better touchpads with really nice buttons. The consumer versions often have weird stuff like virtual buttons, buttons with a loud "click" and non-existing travel. While enterprise laptops have buttons with some travel distance and a smooth click. I can't describe it but they do have a very nice feel, somewhat closer to keyboards.
- better components. Almost every corporate laptop has Intel networking chips (or at least Broadcom). The cases don't flex as much as consumer versions.
- the Windows 8 era machines include Windows 7 AND 8 installation disks - choose whatever you like. And proper, not "single-language reduced crap with tons of Symantec/McAfee/BonziBuddy bullshit" Windows editions.
- 3-year warranty. Not even Apple offers that kind of support.

about 3 months ago
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Internet Explorer Implements HTTP/2 Support

zlogic Re:I've been impressed with IE lately (122 comments)

I've tried using MS-only products for about a year before surrendering and switching back to Google.
Bing, Outlook.com, Windows 8.1/Windows Phone 8, Office 2013, all that sorts of stuff. Did not work out, and the biggest complaints about IE are:
1) Website compatibility. For some reason IE 11 chooses legacy mode for many modern sites like endomondo.com etc. which disables features and breaks stuff. Additionally, MS tried to force developers to stop using IE versions when determining supported features, which broke browser detection on many sites, including Google, banking sites etc. Basically they told "sorry, we don't understand your browser type" and gave an HTML-only interface or even no access at all. This may be a webmaster problem, but MS should have at least provided an option to enable user-agent spoofing by default. Now you have to press F12 every time you open the same website because IE cannot remember previous compatibility settings. The only option is to force "compatibility mode" for sites which is IE6 quirks emulation - totally stupid.
2) Addons - IE does not support lightweight addons like Chrome or Firefox. Addons are DLLs which require browser restarts, can cause crashes and generally are developed by unknown companies. Chrome and Firefox provide tons of simple extensions like scrobbling plugins, stopping of Youtube autoplay etc. which are unavailable for IE. And most plugins are in the form of Javascript which means they could be audited.
Plugin development for IE is much more difficult than other browsers, period. This means many small, simple (but niche) addons will never be done because you have to learn a lot in order to create even a simplest plugin.
Also, IE's search feature is terrible compared to Firefox/Chrome/Opera. No keywords for search engines, no option for adding search engines besides http://www.iegallery.com/ (does not have search plugins for all websites).
3) Privacy - for some reason Chrome is considered to be worse than IE. However unlike Chrome or Firefox IE has non-existing cookie management. In Chrome or Firefox I can only enable cookies for a pre-approved site list, while IE's only option is to clear all cookies.
4) Features - for many features IE hasn't changed much since IE4. Bookmarks are still stored as *.url files (no duplicates, no sorting, no support for characters like *,/,:). No spellcheck. Bookmark sync only works with Windows 8.
5) Stability - even though IE11 is faster and more stable than IE7/8, it still locks up more frequently than Chrome (but uses less RAM).
6) Updates - IE is terribly slow to update (once every 2-3 years???). And still updates require a system restart!

The only noticeable improvement between IE11 and IE7 is with speed, rendering and standards support. This may be good enough to make IE bearable on public or company-owned computers, but is not sufficient to switch Firefox/Chrome users back to IE.

about 3 months ago
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DuckDuckGo Now Blocked In China

zlogic Re:A Big Compliment! (82 comments)

Well, I did in fact visit Shanghai and stayed in a (probably) expensive hotel. While google.hk worked OK, other services like Youtube and Twitter were still blocked
And the same situation was in the office I was visiting - US company, but almost no visitors (even the receptionist didn't speak English).

about 3 months ago
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DuckDuckGo Now Blocked In China

zlogic Re:A Big Compliment! (82 comments)

Google was not blocked in China, but rather not allowed to do business there. Last time I've been to China, Google still worked, but instead of google.cn it opened google.hk. They have pretty extensive Google Maps for China, with local services like traffic, as well as other services.
The only thing which doesn't work is Youtube.

about 3 months ago
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Next Android To Enable Local Encryption By Default Too, Says Google

zlogic Re:Are they going to fix the bugs? (126 comments)

Whoops, you're absolutely right. Just did a test and confirmed that indeed the pin changes the encryption password as well. Shame on me :(

about 3 months ago
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Next Android To Enable Local Encryption By Default Too, Says Google

zlogic Re:Are they going to fix the bugs? (126 comments)

The encryption password becomes your lock screen PIN and there is no way to change it.

Wrong, the encryption password has to be entered when booting the phone only. It's even different screen (ugly Android 1.6-style buttons painted black).
I have a device with corporate policies enforced and have 3 codes to enter:
- Encryption password
- SIM PIN
- Lock PIN.
When device becomes locked after inactivity, I only need to use the lock PIN.

about 3 months ago
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Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only

zlogic Re:So much for mobile payments in Japan (336 comments)

I think one of the most useful things is reading NXP Mifare and similar contactless tickets. It's a very real and valid use for NFC, since a lot of these tickets do not provide any way of getting the number of remaining rides besides using a ticket checking machine.

about 3 months ago
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Apple Outrages Users By Automatically Installing U2's Album On Their Devices

zlogic Re:BTW, this proves piracy is irrelevant for artis (610 comments)

Well, this actually makes sense. Magnetic media degrades over time, CDs suffer from bit rot, vynil records are easily dameged, HDDs fail, id3 tags are corrupted (Windows Media Player does that). Formats change over time - for example movies purchased 10 years ago are in DVD quality, which doesn't look good in big TVs; and high-quality 1080p torrents consume less space.
And just at old iTunes purchases - they are poorer quality and have DRM.
Now, renting music is not much worse than maintaining a record collection, and for the price of one album per month you get unlimited access to all songs. Sounds like a great bargain to me if you download at least one new album per month. And in 5-10 years your library will probably get upgraded to FLAC quality.
If you are "lucky" to work in an open space environment, you need A LOT of music to compensate the noise. Listening to the same music over and over is even worse than listening to loud sales calls, and radio-style services or unlimited libraries really help to keep your sanity.
The only downside I see is the possibility of provider going bankrupt or shutting down the music service.

about 3 months ago
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

zlogic Re:My opinion on the matter. (826 comments)

X is terrible when working over non-local networks (VPN, offsite servers and so on). Once you get any sort of network latency, windows start drawing incredibly slowly, it seems every X drawing call is done synchronously and windows with many buttons and text labels may take tens of seconds to draw.
It's so bad that our team has to use VNC server on every site and use it for any X applications. Even though VNC is supposed to be less efficient, it doesn't suffer as much from network latency.

about 4 months ago
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Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

zlogic Re:Linux will NEVER be a Desktop - Every Day OS. (727 comments)

Windows is seeming to be actually going backwards.
For example, if you disable hibernation in Windows 7, you can only re-enable it with a command line tool rather than a GUI like it was done in XP.

Or even worse: Windows Vista/7 had network management features that recognized networks and allowed to enable features based on the assigned network type. This is a neat feature which automatically enforces stricter firewall rules in public hotspots. Windows 8 had this feature really dumbed down, and what's more, you can now only manage locations with a command line tool! If you shared some files at a local Starbucks, locking it down would be extremely difficult.

With this rate, some future Windows version would only allow DHCP auto-configuration, or if you need to set your own IP/DNS, you're a power user and should use the console.

about 4 months ago
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Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation

zlogic Re:American car companies... (426 comments)

Audi, BMW, Porche, Volkswagen, Honda, Ford, Mazda, Mitssubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota weren't sitting on their thumbs in the 15 years it took GM, Ford, and Chevrolet to get their cars up to snuff.

I agree, every time someone tries to sell me a Ford, I always tell them it's horrible and I'd prefer Ford instead.

about 4 months ago
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Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It?

zlogic Re:How to fix ALL the app stores... (249 comments)

Step 2 no longer allow any app that replicates abilities in the stock phone.

Not such a god idea. If Android has a browser, a "social networking" app (Google+), a music player, an SMS app, a maps app and so on, alternatives may still be useful (e.g. an alternative SMS app with spam blocking, an alternative maps source).
Or iPhone, which has Safari, forces all browsers to use the Safari rendering engine. Not so great if someone develops a better browser with ad blocking, a faster (or more standards-compatible) rendering engine, or some other features besides another UI with bookmarks sync.

Step 4 eliminate in app purchases.

Some in-app purchases are good. For example add-supported apps that allow to disable ads for a fee will keep settings, while the traditional solution with a free/paid version clutters the appstore and loses your settings if you upgrade, since it's a completely different and isolated app.

about 4 months ago
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Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It?

zlogic Re:Remove old apps. (249 comments)

There are some niche apps which were updated a long time ago and yet continue working well. For example an SSH client https://play.google.com/store/... (this is Android, but still). There are some clones of this app, adding some extra (perhaps unneeded) features, and either display ads or require payment while the original app is completely free and open-source. If it works well even on the latest hardware, should it really be removed if it's no longer updated and does not generate as much cash as the clones?

about 4 months ago
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LinkedIn Spam Lawsuit Can Continue

zlogic Re:they become aggresive... (50 comments)

It's possible people who are looking for a job start recommending all their contacts so at least someone will recommend them back.

about 6 months ago
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HP Unveils 'The Machine,' a New Computer Architecture

zlogic Re:anyone remember itanium? (257 comments)

Itanium was popular with the server market, it just didn't evolve fast enough. Windows XP actually had an Itanium version from day 1 and a lot of MS products had Itanium releases.
Totally new hardware platforms sometimes allows to get rid of old stuff and rethink approaches. For example, Apple's iPhone/iPad basically set the new standard of what a smartphone or tablet should be - before that we had Windows Mobile, Palm and Symbian without an app store and with capacitive screens and bulky tablets running desktop operating systems.
This probably won't be a consumer OS, rather something like a dedicated database machine or Hadoop-like node.

about 6 months ago
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Why Should Game Stories Make Sense?

zlogic Stories do matter (169 comments)

A few examples of good stories:
* Half-Life does not have a really complicated story, but it's good enough to turn mindless running around corridors (Quake II-style) into achieving actual goals.
* Bioshock Infinite has an insanely great story with an awesome ending. Forget the graphics (not bad at all), forget the gameplay (also quite entertaining), the story is probably the best in history of gaming. This game will definitely be remembered.
And bad ones:
* Unreal II: The Awakening has a terrible story and dialogue. But graphics were great and gameplay was OK (typical for FPS developed during that time). Probably nobody remembers this game now (except for how bad the dialogue was).
* Unreal Tournament, Quake III have absolutely no story in single-player. It seems nobody played single-player at all, or only used it to train for multi-player deathmatches.

Some gameplay types do not need a story, and sadly it seems that this includes most modern games, such as free-to-play timekillers (no need for a story when the purpose is grinding for coins) and multiplayer games where the any sort of story interferes with the gameplay.

about 8 months ago
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VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

zlogic Background (for those who didn't read TFA) (149 comments)

This Pavel Durov guy sent a resignation letter on April 1 saying that he resigned. Then a follow-up letter on April 3 stating that this was an April Fools joke and he'd like to recall the resignation letter.
Now, the VK social is undergoing hostile takeover and there's lots of going on that we don't know about.
What most don't seem to understand is:
You don't make such kind of jokes on April 1st without expecting consequences.
Imagine if
* Your boss joked "you're fired, pack your shit" and gave you a pink slip on April 1st
* A senior developer joked "I'm tired of all this bullshit and all you dumbass bozos building pointless crap" and gave his resignation on April 1st
* The CEO joked "I'm tired of all this bullshit and all the f-ing politics I have to deal with" and gave his resignation on April 1st
and made a follow-up two days later saying that was a joke and the statement should be recalled.

This still is a sad day in the history of Russian Internet. It seems that blocking of stuff is getting more and more aggressive (Navalny's blog was banned simply because he's under house arrest and is not supposed to use the internet). Some ISPs even roll out DPI which is sadly a better alternative to DNS-based blocking because of much less false-positives.

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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Ideas for a Ph.D. thesis?

zlogic zlogic writes  |  more than 5 years ago

zlogic writes "I'm about to start writing my PhD thesis, but haven't decided on its topic yet. I've worked with image recognition and feature detection. Could you suggest a real-world image recognition/processing problem that needs solving? I thought up some ideas, but want to do something useful instead of inventing a solution to a non-existing problem."

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