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Comment Just how a computer works (Score 1) 86

I would advise to read some book that works like a children's book and pretends you've never seen or heard of a computer.
That it consists in a central processing unit, memory, some kind of input and output : like a keyboard and a teleprinter. It describes memory addressing and the memory address space, mentions machine code and then almost immediately jumps to pseudo-assembler examples that teach about simple program flow. By the way, the program might be loaded from a paper tape.
Next, perhaps text is encoded this way, and perhaps data is encoded that way on the paper tape.

But don't get bogged down in hardware specifics, and certainly don't bogged down by an OS, 3D graphics API, java, php etc. in such an introduction. A high level concept that may be introduced would be that of a file instead.
I know such books exist as I read an illustrated one from about 1980.

The hairball that is networking surely has to be introduced somewhere but perhaps an example of computers talking through a phone line is easier first, sending sort of telegrams.
Don't drop the ball on this, there are ways to learn the basics and it will already be something to know what is a file and what is an interpreter.

Comment Re:Looking at you, BBC... (Score 2) 201

iOS computers all run the same browser and all have a h264 hardware decoder.
All flash users run the flash plugin, which is (almost) the same regardless of browser, OS or hardware (though here the h264 decoder may be software or hardware).

So in both cases, you have a single platform effect that makes it easy to run.
With HMTL 5 on random computers, you do get a lot of variation between software, browser versions. For one thing you will have to support IE 9 till Vista end-of-line in 2017 in the least, which happens to coincide with end-of-line for Flash 11.2 on linux.

Comment Re:Some stuff is halfway there (Score 1) 177

I've wanted a pdf reader even on desktop that renders the whole document, even if that would waste say a GB of RAM or two. No more white page that fills up or "spinner" that shows for a second.
If using a recent graphics card (such as a cheap 2GB one) and the pages are rendered to textures, you would fill the otherwise empty graphics RAM.

Comment Re:Installed Win95 in 1994 (Score 1) 277

To clarify it does support IPX/SPX, just not in DOS games ; it does not support networking in the DOS VM, perhaps for good reason.
Late nineties Windows games typically offered a choice between IPX and TCP (UDP) so no need to care.

Sorry if I implied that XP doesn't support IPX for actual serious/useful purposes, that would be wrong.

Comment Re:Android still sucks (Score 1) 80

a) Why would you open a voicemail in a web browser? That's a stupendous security risk. And it would be an audio player, surely, not a browser?

b) What is your carrier doing to deliver voicemail by anything other than their voicemail service?

Delivering voicemail is voicemail service, right? So why do they provide voicemail service with something other than their voicemail service? They should only provide voicemail service, not voicemail service.

Hoping you don't take that personally.
In my case, dumpbhone user, I can go to the carrier's website (from a PC) and listen to voice messages there. For the giggle I even tested dialing my own number (from the phone), landing on the "answering machine" and I could record shit there that showed up as a wav file on the website.

As for a) well browsers have historically been able to open .txt files (they are out there on the web), pictures : which I do regularly for clean viewing and zooming, but naive website did/do link to them, some image sharing services even do as one of the options ; full on media player is what they happen to do now.
I did a quick test of an .mp4 file : firefox is a competent player for it, without using a quirky plug-in (it would have used a plug-in years ago. With an .avi file it prompts me to activate a plug-in, which I decline to do.). The extremely minimal controls are tasteful for once.
It happens to play mp3 from the built-in player too ; Google Chrome is known to not play them, for licensing or political reason.

Security risk is nil, as this just opens and plays a media file. Doesn't even use the network. (yes in theory a crafted file may exploit an exploit in the decoder)
Opening crap in the browser is an interesting approach. If I find myself on an OSX or Windows etc. system that is either really blank, or is loaded with crapware (including from adobe, microsoft, apple etc.) or I don't even want to think about unfamiliar software (Metro version of windows media player?) then I can open some of the local files in Mozilla Firefox, if available.

Comment Re:Installed Win95 in 1994 (Score 1) 277

I liked how Win 9x (by then 98SE) ran IPX and TCP/IP simultaneously, plus the emulated Netbios thing. I was dearly pissed when Windows XP was unable to run IPX networking in DOS games. And even its version of MS Hearts was incompatible with that of 98 and 3.11, though that's petty.

Had it worked I would have had four-player doom 2 at home!

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll