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Comment Re:MS Surface has been on my mind lately... (Score 1) 293

I know I'm late to the party, but your statement that Windows has always been an exercise is frustration is most certainly true for you, but not everyone. For me, the last couple of iterations of MacOS before I sold my 15" MBP about a year ago were more of an exercise in frustration than Windows 10 has been.

Yeah, I'd have loved to use Linux as my primary OS but I was limited in what I could accomplish and limited in the hardware I could buy. I had certain things I wanted to accomplish with my new laptop ecosystem and Linux literally didn't have the hardware support at the time to do it. Yeah, it does now... but I would still find Linux intensely limiting due to my use cases today. And quite frankly the hardware support is still lagging far enough behind that it renders itself irrelevant to me pretty quickly.

Privacy concerns? I personally don't care. The metadata collection that Microsoft does is something I don't really give a monkeys about so long as I can get my work done in a simple and effective manner. Yeah, I do some blocking with PFBlocker on my firewall because why the hell not? Just because I don't mind the metadata collection, doesn't mean I'm going to make it easy for Microsoft. And unfortunately that doesn't help when my laptop leaves my house... but that's infrequent enough that I don't care.

I'm not a Microsoft shill, but neither do I care much about the operating system I run any more. I have very little software that's Windows-specific just as I had relatively little software that was Mac specific. I'm more concerned that the hardware I run is capable of working with me and helping me do my work and once I wrote up a list of hardware I wanted in my latest iteration, listed out the capabilities that I wanted and so on neither Mac OS nor Linux were an option for me. Like it or not, leading (or bleeding) edge hardware has never been either Apple's or Linux' strong suits. And there are some people who actually need that hardware.

For the record too, my transition into using Windows 10 was easy, and continues to be easy. My computer is really reliable and has had zero issues even considering I did an upgrade from Windows 8.1 to 10 (8.1 was the OS of choice when I got my current hardware). Usually I'd expect issues but I had surprisingly few. I had to uninstall a couple of pieces of software due to compatibility issues, but I didn't miss them either.

Comment Re:Posted from a Thinkpad (Score 1) 535

Well.. not until now... no...

That's awesome. I'm glad Windows caught up finally. How about Linux, was I at least right about that part?

Nope. Linux has had multi-touch and gesture support at least as long as Windows and perhaps longer. I will concede here that Apple were first to market here, but they haven't really done anything terribly interesting with the technology since.

Comment Re:End of AOSP? (Score 1) 197

Google is changing. Well, in truth Alphabet is changing; they want to compete more directly with Apple with their own "Halo" device. The previous Nexus devices (I had a few that I loved) were cheap... but they were also cheap in the sense they were plastic and never top-tier hardware. These new devices are true flagship devices... though the memory is a bit smaller than I might expect in a modern flagship (4GB when many manufacturers are looking at 6)... though with a pretty fat CPU to keep up with it.

For my part, I pre-ordered Pixels for myself and my girlfriend yesterday. My phone is getting pretty long in the tooth (first-gen Moto X) so it's time... and honestly the price while higher than I might've liked isn't too much of a hardship for someone who's been into unlocked phones for years. I haven't been on a contract with a carrier since my iPhone 3GS (long time ago now)... I'm much happier buying unlocked.

Comment OneNote is Microsoft's Best Product (Score 1) 286

Seriously, there's really no competing products beyond OneNote.

I was an Evernote subscriber up until recently; I simply found that the functionality was too easily duplicated in OneNote; Evernote literally provided me zero advantages.

Now, my history is I have always been an open-source fan, run Linux since the early pre-1.0 kernel days, and ran Apple Macs for years before finally migrating back to Windows about 2 years ago. Mostly I did that because of work, but I had gotten a Surface Pro about 4 years ago or thereabouts that I absolutely fell in love with for a portable, simple computer with which I could also do some awesome note-taking with the stylus. This includes drawings on the screen when I need to (which in my job these days is often).

When my Surface Pro got long in the tooth I moved to a Dell Venue 11 Pro, which is what I'm typing this response on. As well as being a really good tablet, it also has an extremely good keyboard if you get the accessory keyboard with the integrated battery. It also has the advantage of giving me runtimes on battery that are just insane and I have never come close to killing both batteries (though I have drained the battery once or twice in tablet-only mode). At this point I have dozens of OneNote notebooks, many of which are archive/reference... but the new active ones are synced to all my devices at once. That means that when I get home to my nice big desktop machine, I can bring up those notes without even thinking about it; no saving to a Dropbox-alike solution, the notes are just there. And I can slide them off to a second screen I'm using for reference material while I work on the action items from those notes on my nice comfortable desktop. Meanwhile my Venue sits quietly on its charger waiting to be taken out again.

Now, there definitely are times OneNote is not ideal. I don't use it for very personal notes... the stuff I don't want synced to a Microsoft-owned cloud (or anyone's cloud come to think of it). For that I have my OwnCloud server with OwnNote. While it doesn't do the hand-written notes, I do have an OwnNote client on my phone so I can tap in quick notes or reference notes I have stored there. I can also hit it up easily at my private URL to quickly get some notes entered... but even I admit it's not as slick as OneNote. Now, having said that since I also have the OwnCloud client on my laptop, I can create text notes in the "Notes" folder in my OwnCloud on my local machine and they also become notes... so there are multiple ways to skin that cat.

So one-size-fits-all? No... but OneNote is good enough for almost everything, and for those few corner cases I find OneNote doesn't work, OwnNote works perfectly. These two tools have become the things I use every day and mean I'm not constantly losing paper notes (my old method).

Having said all that, I DO carry an old paper notebook around as well just in case I'm ever in a place I have no power or access to a computer/phone (VERY rarely, but it happens). If that happens, I whip out the paper notebook and write a quick note... and if I want to digitize it I can either transcribe it later, usually into OneNote so I can translate over diagrams as well.

Comment Re:Sad to see Debian... (Score 1) 319

If you're running Debian on an embedded system then you're doing it wrong anyway. Debian has never been tuned for embedded, and a properly tuned embedded system is more likely to be compiled from source or INCREDIBLY minimal packaging. In addition I can't imagine running systemd on embedded systems as it's a bit heavy for systems with slow CPUs and small memory spaces.

Hell, a basic Redhat / CENTOS install is better tuned for embedded than Debian, and that's not saying much.

Comment Re: Wrong headline (Score 1) 351

Kind of misses the point that Hinkley Point C is a boondoggle. I've been following it for a while since I'm actually a fan of nuclear power as well as renewables... and if you're interested there's a great summary about it here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

It doesn't hurt that Robert Llewellyn was Kryten in Red Dwarf...

Comment Re:Link 404's (Score 1) 93

No, parent poster is right; it's fake. Just watch carefully. I did and noticed way too many incongruous or inconsistent moments. For example there's a moment when you see the hoverboard turn to the right with the pilot on top... the pilot literally doesn't move. It's quite obvious this is a jet-powered quad drone with a mannequin on top. At other times I suspect a crane, and the footage is very carefully cut and cropped to not show it.

Seriously, the video is crap. I am not a pro and I could probably put together something close to it using Premiere. Hell, even shooting the footage I can think of a dozen different ways to actually get the footage that don't involve a working hoverboard... could probably put the entire thing together in about a week on a budget of less than $5K if I rope some of my friends into the scam.

Just watch... they'll fire off an Indiegogo or Kickstarter based on the footage, raise loads of money and then pull a "Coolest Cooler" where they suddenly claim they need more money... and more money... and more money... and then vanish. While Coolest haven't done that yet, I predict that's what's going to happen. It's not hard to hide investments and file bankruptcy... yeah, it's fraud but some people only care about making money.

Oh, and since when has "horsepower" been a measure of jet power? Yeah, the whole thing just reeks of scam.

Comment Re:A famous book of literary criticism once said.. (Score 1) 288

Except that this is still within spitting distance of two tickets to a movie plus snacks at the ridiculous theatre prices. And there are people (myself included) who have put a pretty decent investment into a home system that's more comfortable and in many ways better than a theatre system (you can control the volume yourself to start, pause the movie when you need a bio break etc.)

On the flip side, I DO enjoy actually going to a theatre to watch a movie... and yes I enjoy new releases on occasion. I think this might be a service I will use because (a) I can afford it and (b) sometimes my girlfriend and I would rather sit home and watch a movie. Invite a couple of friends over for a "first watch" party and all of a sudden that $50 seems pretty damned cheap. In fact, I think I'd probably do that at least once a month.

Comment Re: When will people learn? (Score 1) 287

I know this is not a great data point, but I have a 3 year old Moto X that is running sterling service on CM12.1 and you CAN put 13 on it if you're willing to take a hit in the stability department. Mine works great, is small (4.7") and reliable. I flash a new nightly onto it about once every week or two when I feel like it and I've had only one or two buggy releases that made me a little frustrated.

Having said all that, support for 13 is bad on this device and yes I probably will get a new phone this year... but my needs and wants are about the same as yours in that I don't want a 5.5" monster screen device... I just need something that's dependable with a "big enough" screen that I can read on when I want to. For me the 4.7" screen is a sweet spot I really like and am having a lot of difficulty finding a replacement. Right now the favourite seems to be the OnePlus X at 5"... but it's lack of support for certain US bands is a bit worrying when outside of major cities. Having said that, I rarely travel much outside of major cities and when I do I'm rarely using LTE anyway... I've almost always had my phones drop to 3G out in the country anyway :)

Comment Re:Solution looking for a problem? (Score 1) 172

That depends a lot on your use cases. I will preface this by saying I'm part of the target market here because I have already spoken with my dollars and have a laptop with an external GPU box; specifically an Alienware 15 with the Graphics Amp.

a- Increased complexity? Sure, and there's no doubt that there will be teething troubles with drivers. I know I had them early on because of effectively having three GPU's (integrated Intel, integrated GTX-970m and external GTX-980). However I think what AMD is aiming for here is a portable system that would only have two when "docked" and one when mobile.

b- I am still quite happy with the solution I'm running... the CPU isn't the bottleneck on the games I play and I love the fact I can upgrade my GPU when I'm ready to.

c- Agreed, but why overthink it? Yes, Dell's solution on the AW is proprietary, but technically the external GPU connection is just PCIe. That works great because you can use the same GPU that you use in a desktop today. I think AW's solution is actually pretty elegant, though dual GPU capability would be nice... but then my CPU probably would become a bottlneck :)

d- Yes, portability of a laptop is important... but for what purposes do you typically move your laptop? Mine moves when I take it somewhere I want to work.... rarely do I game anywhere other than at home so a powerful GPU on the road is mostly irrelevant. Having said all that, I also own a tablet (Dell Venue 11 Pro 7140) which is actually my go-to for a portable system so I rarely really use my AW for work at a coffee shop or the like. However, it is nice that when I am traveling for work (about one week a month) I can pack up my AW15 with my Venue Pro and I have my entire work and "home" systems with me. That way if I choose I can game in my hotel room or while delayed at an airport. Sure the GPU in the laptop isn't as powerful as the one I have at home, but it's also driving a less high res display (HD as opposed to 4K) that's smaller so I don't really notice the detail reduction.

Solutions already exist to the problem from Alienware and MSI... AMD's solution here is OK on paper but requires yet another connector on a laptop which most manufacturers are moving away from. Using TB3 is an OK solution too, but we will hit a limit at some point as GPUs continue to grow.

At the end of the day though, AMD's solution is all about extra revenue. They want to be able to sell two versions of the same GPU; one that's external and pluggable and one that's PCIe. Personally I prefer the AW and MSI solutions because they leverage already existing standards and I can go buy any PCIe GPU I like. So far just over a year in and I'm quite happy with the GTX-980 but will probably look to upgrade in the next year or so... that will extend the lifespan of my laptop because CPU just isn't much of a bottleneck.

Comment Re: No one plays games any more (Score 1) 172

This is true as far as it goes, but misses the point that the GPU connection at that point is PCI-E. You can pick and choose your GPU in the Dell/Alienware solution and it works really well. Yes, the connector is proprietary, but that's because there were no standards for external, pluggable PCI-E.

For the record, I have an Alienware 15 that is my primary box and I love it. I have the external box (Amplifier) with a GTX-980 in it right now for heavy lifting on games. It's really nice when I'm on the road to be able to still play games with the integrated GTX-970m, but then play my heavy games at home on the amp. In addition, it acts like a dock of sorts with 4 USB sockets in the back... so I have a good keyboard, gaming mouse and Logitech G13 attached permanently to it. I do wish it had integrated gig-e but I can understand why they didn't do that.

Comment Re:Cork?? (Score 1) 116

My girlfriend is still rocking an Alienware M11xR2. That damned thing is a tank and I've generally found Alienware laptops to be really well engineered and built. Last year I moved back from OSX to Windows by replacing my Macbook Pro with an Alienware 15. Point is; the M11xR2 is an 11 inch laptop that really lasts... I think it's around 6 years old now?

I absolutely love it and it's traveled quite extensively with me. Dell's most recent commercial ultrabooks are also really well made. My work gives me a Latitude E7240 (12 inch) and it's also been incredibly reliable. Takes a beating and is moved around all the time since I work on the road. Yeah, the case has picked up scratches and scuffs mostly from being slipped in and out of a backpack, and occasionally having stuff put on top of it... but almost 2 years in and so far it's rock solid. The screen resolution is pretty crap though, but it's workable.

If you want to go really serious there are also ruggedized laptops and tablets in the 11-12 inch size range. At work we recently demoed the Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet (also Dell) and while it's technically semi-rugged rather than truly rugged, that makes it highly portable and I doubt normal usage would cause it to even flinch.

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