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Comment: Re:Papers (Score 3, Interesting) 153

by hairyfeet (#47526887) Attached to: Chromebooks Are Outselling iPads In Schools

I think the $99 netbooks that are gonna be coming out this fall should just suck up these low end sales like a sponge. After all the new Atom and Jaguar chips are crazy powerful and at 8 inches it'll be just perfect for kids sticking into backpacks. i already have a dozen customers that have put off getting their kids a tablet to get one of these new netbooks and I have a feeling that without having the lowest cost these ChromeOS sales are gonna dry up, same goes for the low end tablets.

After all why would you buy a Chromebook that ONLY works on the net when you could have a netbook that runs all the apps a Chromebook can run AND run offline as well? Oh and the Linux guys should love 'em as both Intel and AMD have been pretty good about opening up the APUs so it should be a dirt cheap way to have a pocket Linux lappy.

Comment: Re:GOG discovers DOSBOX works on Linux (Score 1) 77

by hairyfeet (#47526791) Attached to: GOG.com Announces Linux Support

I think you missed his point, his point is the old DOS game is wrapped in a Windows installer that often won't run on the platform he is using and there is NO way to just download the original files WITHOUT the installer which would allow him to trivially get it running in Linux.

While I have never been a fan of Linux I agree that is stupid for multiple reasons, not only does it make his ability to buy and use these games much harder (thus making it more likely he and those on his platform won't buy, thus hurting sales) but there are also plenty of DOS fans that use integrated launchers like D-Fend that could also use the raw files so they can just drop them into their custom DOSBox and call it a day. Considering you get the files AFTER running the Windows installer i see no reason in not just offering the option to download the game installer free.

This reminds me of the stupid 2K Humble Bundle I bought last week, the whole reason i bought it was "yay they have a GFWL DRM free version of Bioshock 1, no more needing a pirate version of a game I bought or dealing with GFWL removal crap, yay!" only to find that while yes their version was 100% DRM free it did NOT support torrenting, ONLY a direct download that was glitchy as hell and which wouldn't work with download managers....argh! I finally had to fire up 32bit IE of all things as that was the only browser that seemed to play nice with their download. If its already DRM free why not give me the choice of torrent?

Comment: Re:Death bell tolling for thee.... (Score 1) 310

by PCM2 (#47524277) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

Sure. Here's a transcript of the earnings call. (You may need to register to read it.)

Nadella does say, early on in his prepared comments, that, "We will streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system for screens of all sizes."

Later during the Q&A session, however, he was asked about how this "one version for all devices" would change the number of Windows SKUs that are available, and he said this:

Yes. My statement Heather was more to do with just even the engineering approach. The reality is that we actually did not have one Windows; we had multiple Windows operating systems inside of Microsoft. We had one for phone, one for tablets and PCs, one for Xbox, one for even embedded. So we had many, many of these efforts. So now we have one team with the layered architecture that enables us to in fact one for developers bring that collective opportunity with one store, one commerce system, one discoverability mechanism. It also allows us to scale the UI across all screen sizes; it allows us to create this notion of universal Windows apps and being coherent there.

So that’s what more I was referencing and our SKU strategy will remain by segment, we will have multiple SKUs for enterprises, we will have for OEM, we will have for end-users. And so we will – be disclosing and talking about our SKUs as we get further along, but this my statement was more to do with how we are bringing teams together to approach Windows as one ecosystem very differently than we ourselves have done in the past.

Lots of hedging in there. You don't need a single, converged OS to give developers "one store, one commerce system, one discoverability system." Those are all ancillary functions. A "team with the layered architecture" doesn't sound like every version of Windows is going to share the same layers. And clearly nothing about Windows is going to be simplified from the customer's perspective; there will still be six or eight SKUs, with each offering different benefits.

Rather, I take Nadella's comments to mean he's streamlining the OS engineering group so that the people working on each Windows platform work in tandem with the others and they all have similar goals, milestones, etc (good).

I also take it to mean that Microsoft will offer developers who are building so-called Modern apps a common set of APIs that will be available on the various form factors, so they eventually should only have to write their apps once and they will run on every kind of device. That sounds OK, but it's only going to be true for Windows Store apps -- and to achieve that, you don't need every device to be running an identical OS.

In other words, no Holy Grail here, but Microsoft is streamlining and rationalizing its OS engineering efforts, which makes good sense at this juncture.

+ - Letter to Congress: Ending U.S. Dependency on Russia for Access to Space 1

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "I've sent a letter to my district's senators and member of congress this evening, regarding how we should achieve a swifter end to U.S. dependency on the Russians for access to space. Please read my letter, below. If you like it, please join me and send something similar to your own representatives. Find them here and here. — Bruce

Dear Congressperson Lee,

The U.S. is dependent on the Russians for present and future access to space. Only Soyuz can bring astronauts to and from the Space Station. The space vehicles being built by United Launch Alliance are designed around a Russian engine. NASA's own design for a crewed rocket is in its infancy and will not be useful for a decade, if it ever flies.

Mr. Putin has become much too bold because of other nations dependence. The recent loss of Malaysia Air MH17 and all aboard is one consequence.

Ending our dependency on Russia for access to space, sooner than we previously planned, has become critical. SpaceX has announced the crewed version of their Dragon spaceship. They have had multiple successful flights and returns to Earth of the un-crewed Dragon and their Falcon 9 rocket, which are without unfortunate foreign dependencies. SpaceX is pursuing development using private funds. The U.S. should now support and accelerate that development.

SpaceX has, after only a decade of development, demonstrated many advances over existing and planned paths to space. Recently they have twice successfully brought the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket back to the ocean surface at a speed that would allow safe landing on ground. They have demonstrated many times the safe takeoff, flight to significant altitude, ground landing and re-flight of two similar test rockets. In October they plan the touchdown of their rocket's first stage on a barge at sea, and its recovery and re-use after a full flight to space. Should their plan for a reusable first-stage, second, and crew vehicle be achieved, it could result in a reduction in the cost of access to space to perhaps 1/100 of the current "astronomical" price. This would open a new frontier to economical access in a way not witnessed by our nation since the transcontinental railroad. The U.S. should now support this effort and reap its tremendous economic rewards.

This plan is not without risk, and like all space research there will be failures, delays, and eventually lost life. However, the many successes of SpaceX argue for our increased support now, and the potential of tremendous benefit to our nation and the world.

Please write back to me.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens"

Comment: Re:Death bell tolling for thee.... (Score 2) 310

by PCM2 (#47520513) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

They're not talking about the interface. They're talking about the underlying nuts-and-bolts stuff.

No, they're really more talking about the interface. The underlying nuts and bolts are already pretty much the same, in that Windows, Windows RT, and Windows Phone all share the same NT kernel. But above that there is plenty that's different from platform to platform. What Nadella wants to do is unify the development model and allow developers to create apps with UIs that react and readjust depending on the screen size of the device they're running on, much like how modern websites can support multiple screen sizes. All this talk about "one version of Windows" stems from a single, oversimplified comment Nadella made on the earnings call. When asked about it later, he completely backtracked and said there would not be any such thing.

Comment: Re:OK MS bashers. (Score 1) 310

by PCM2 (#47520497) Attached to: Microsoft's CEO Says He Wants to Unify Windows

I would hope this unification means that there will be suffice emulation built into windows that it will pick the kernel/libs/drivers required by the CPU arch, and userland apps can run in emulation (even if slowly) if they are compiled for the wrong proc. This would be a unified windows, that allows x86 and 64 bit apps run on ARM and vice versa (although the other direction is likely not as useful).

Unfortunately for you, the actual article says the exact opposite of the summary (so what else is new on /.?): Other than the kernel and the app development model, there will be no unified version of Windows. There will always be different flavors of Windows for different kinds of devices and even multiple SKUs of the same version of Windows for different markets (consumer, SMB, enterprise, etc.)

Technology

MIT' Combines Carbon Foam and Graphite Flakes For Efficient Solar Steam Generati 110

Posted by timothy
from the science-fiction-future-awaits dept.
rtoz (2530056) writes Researchers at MIT have developed a new spongelike material structure which can use 85% of incoming solar energy for converting water into steam. This spongelike structure has a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam. This structure has many small pores. It can float on the water, and it will act as an insulator for preventing heat from escaping to the underlying liquid. As sunlight hits the structure, it creates a hotspot in the graphite layer, generating a pressure gradient that draws water up through the carbon foam. As water seeps into the graphite layer, the heat concentrated in the graphite turns the water into steam. This structure works much like a sponge. It is a significant improvement over recent approaches to solar-powered steam generation. And, this setup loses very little heat in the process, and can produce steam at relatively low solar intensity. If scaled up, this setup will not require complex, costly systems to highly concentrate sunlight.

Comment: Re:Completly Blindsided. (Score 1) 285

by Bacon Bits (#47506753) Attached to: How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

The school district wasn't blindsided. The county was.

I work at a school district, so let me tell you how public schools get their Internet. Obviously it's going to vary, but from what I've seen our situation is the most common.

Every building in a district runs fiber between their buildings to a central building where the district's servers are kept. It could be in the basement of the high school or some administrative building, but that's what happens. It's easy enough for the district to do capacity planning. Each school district may then connect to an intermediate school district, but ultimately then connects to the county's municipal network. This network is the ISP that connects every municipal office, such as city, village, police, fire, public works, etc. to the Internet. In my state, Michigan, the county connects to a statewide municipal network originally put in place to connect the public universities to the proto-Internet for research (our ISP, Merit, was founded in 1966).

In this story, the problem is at the county level, the middle man between the school and the state-wide network. This is not particularly surprising, since since in every case I've seen, the county is a) poorly funded, b) poorly staffed, and c) tends to be forgotten about. When a neighboring district went 1-to-1 at the high school level with lots of online classes, they did reasonable capacity planning for the district's small network and quadrupled the bandwidth from the high school to the district servers, and the district to the county (the district consists of 3 buildings on the same plot of land, so it was fairly simple). What they didn't do was consider that the county level needed upgrades as well. My district is about 8500 students across more than a dozen buildings, and this was about 200 students in just one building (grades 9 and 10). They were using about 90% of the bandwidth on our connection. That district got moved to a different connection pretty quickly, but until then nobody in our district could use the Internet during the school day.

Comment: Re:Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47485313) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

:-)

You make it sound like starving people are getting fat too.

If they are becoming obese, the particular individual has a surplus of caloric intake, if only for this year or month. This is not to say that they have proper nutrition. So I am not at all clear that the fact that there is obesity in the third world is confounding evidence.

Comment: Evolution (Score 1) 253

by Bruce Perens (#47480445) Attached to: New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes
For most of the existence of mankind and indeed all of mankind's progenitors, having too much food was a rare problem and being hungry all of the time was a fact of life. We are not necessarily well-evolved to handle it. So, no surprise that we eat to repletion and are still hungry. You don't really have any reason to look at it as an illness caused by anything other than too much food.

Comment: Re:Intel (Score 1) 236

by hairyfeet (#47479851) Attached to: Nearly 25 Years Ago, IBM Helped Save Macintosh

Oh I have been singing the praises of the AM1, its a fucking AWESOME chip! I mean a replaceable ULV that does 1080p easily AND is the same chip used in the PS4 AND only uses 25w WHILE having boards that offer options like having multiple PCIe and even a PCI slot and the whole setup can be had for less than $100? Well hell what's not to like!

And I put an E350 Bobcat against a Pentium D805 and even having over 1GHz speed difference it was a joke, that little $60 board just curbstomped that 805. it was then when I really realized how truly shit the P4 design was, because when the weakest Bobcat can beat one of their best duals you know its a garbage design.

Comment: Re: If you pay... (Score 1) 15

Martin,

The last time I had a professional video produced, I paid $5000 for a one-minute commercial, and those were rock-bottom prices from hungry people who wanted it for their own portfolio. I doubt I could get that today. $8000 for the entire conference is really volunteer work on Gary's part.

Someone's got to pay for it. One alternative would be to get a corporate sponsor and give them a keynote, which is what so many conferences do, but that would be abandoning our editorial independence. Having Gary fund his own operation through Kickstarter without burdening the conference is what we're doing. We're really lucky we could get that.

Comment: Re:Intel (Score 1) 236

by hairyfeet (#47474987) Attached to: Nearly 25 Years Ago, IBM Helped Save Macintosh

Actually the P4 would have been fine if they could have reached the clocks they predicted (10GHz+) but the pipes ended up so damned long every cache miss was like slamming on the brakes, not to mention the truly insane amounts of heat the last P4s belched out.

This is why I tell folks to toss if they have a P4 as while an Athlon of the same age is still useful the amount of heat belched out by Prescott and Cedar Mill P4s is just nuts. At the shop I've been replacing P4s with E350s and recently socket AM1s and even those bottom of the line netbook chips still feel faster than the P4 while putting out practically zero heat out the back. You don't realize how badly the cache misses slow the chip until you put an Athlon 64 or first gen Core Solo against the high clocked Pentium Ds, even at double the clocks they just feel dog slow.

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