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Comment: Re:Running only Windows on a Mac (Score 2, Informative) 209

by Daltorak (#49311459) Attached to: For Boot Camp Users, New Macs Require Windows 8 Or Newer

To get a rough spec equivalent to the MacBook Air, which comes with an i5 CPU, 128GB SSD, and a keyboard, you have to spend about $1100 on the Surface Pro 3, which is a bit pricier than the $899 MacBook Air.

Sure, the Surface Pro is more expensive than a Macbook Air of similar performance levels, but that's because you're paying for a larger, higher-resolution (2160px wide vs 1440) touchscreen, with a detachable keyboard..... so you don't have to go buy a separate tablet for commuting or kicking around at home or whatever. You may end up saving money overall.

Microsoft has also said that Surface Pro 3 keyboards are going to be compatible with the upcoming Surface 4, so if you're a chronic upgrader (or your Surface 3 dies an ignoble death) you don't have to pay twice.

Comment: Re:That's impossible (Score 4, Interesting) 317

by Daltorak (#49278917) Attached to: Microsoft Is Killing Off the Internet Explorer Brand

The previous CEO of Microsoft assured European regulators that IE was so deeply embedded in Windows architecture that it could not be replaced.

It's not impossible at all -- Spartan is a copy of the IE engine code, repackaged as a Metro app and will be updated on an ongoing basis through the Windows App Store model. Anything that doesn't work in that space like ActiveX/COM, Browser Helper Objects, etc. are all stripped out.

IE11 will also remain in Windows 10, with good ole' MSHTML.DLL and all that other cruft that developers (and parts of Windows itself) have been taking hard dependencies on for 15+ years. It will receive security updates, performance improvements and so on, but it will not be updated at the pace of Spartan.

Maybe shipping two browsers with the OS will upset some people, but this should actually work out pretty nicely.

Comment: Re:We all dance in the streets (Score 4, Informative) 192

by Daltorak (#48395367) Attached to: Visual Studio 2015 Supports CLANG and Android (Emulator Included)

Finally Microsoft was given me a reason to install Windows on all my machines to support their glorious Visual Studio 2015. I will lock all my projects up in Team Foundations installed on Windows Server.

I know this is is meant as a jokey comment, but it's worth noting that VS2015 has native Git support as well so Github etc. works without any plugins. (Even has Gravatar support if you turn it on) And it's not some half-assed in-house implementation, either: VS uses the OSS libgit2 library and MS developers are active contributors to that project.

Comment: Re:Silly (Score 4, Insightful) 764

by Daltorak (#48271461) Attached to: Tim Cook: "I'm Proud To Be Gay"

Sort of like, "I'm proud to be 5'10"", or, "I'm proud to be male" or something. We have exactly nothing to do with creating these conditions so why would we be proud of them? Things to be proud of would be, "I wrote some amazing code." Or perhaps, "I ran five miles and made my personal best time." You aren't supposed to be proud of things you had no control of...

The idea of "gay pride" isn't a statement of "this is how I am", it's about taking a stand against oppression. People are routinely killed in the United States due solely to their sexual orientation. Killed. Do you fucking hear me? KILLED. And the US being one of the safest places in the world to be gay! You're a lot worse off if you're in Russia, Africa, eastern Europe, many parts of India, pretty much all of Central America, the Phillipines, etc.etc., and publicly came out.

Do people get routinely killed (or are denied access to their sick partner in a hospital, or tax breaks, etc.) for being 5'10 or being a good programmer? Emphatically no. So sit your ass down and keep your "being proud of being gay is the same as being proud of being 5'10" nonsense to yourself.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 0) 104

by Daltorak (#48155799) Attached to: Microsoft Partners With Docker

DevOps is a niche. Get over it.

Do you even know what "DevOps" is?

Here, I'll tell you: Devops: IT infrastructure folks, devs, QA people, sitting in a room and working together to release software on a timely basis.

How it works:
1) Boss schedules a meeting
2) Everyone shows up
3) Work out a couple of things that'll make everyone's jobs easier.
4) Do that.
5) Repeat.

That's it. Seriously. It's not cloud voodoo, it's not shirt-and-tie marketspeak, it doesn't take expensive consultants or software or anything.

If that's considered "niche" in your world, I sure as fuck don't want to work at whatever miserable place you're working at.

Comment: Re:Still... (Score 1) 193

by Daltorak (#47710183) Attached to: C++14 Is Set In Stone

Interestingly, Visual Studio got C99 library support [msdn.com] last year. I'm mentioning this because the C support in VS has mostly been a desert scene with tumbleweeds passing by. I'm not sure how close VS is to full C99 support and what pieces are possibly missing. Does anyone know?

Microsoft's VC++ team blog provides details on conformance to C99, C++11 and C++14 on a regular basis. Here's a recent one:


The TL;DR: their C99 support is complete except for tgmath.h (though they do have ctgmath from C++11). VS2013's printf is also missing some format specifiers though that has been resolved for VS "14". Apparently they had to rewrite their 1980s-era implementation of printf from scratch to get this finished...... not exactly a trivial job. A couple of other minor things are missing too.

Comment: This article has a ton of problems (Score 2) 479

by Daltorak (#45110839) Attached to: Charlie Stross: Why Microsoft Word Must Die

First of all, if you're trying to make a statement of how a product must "die" due to transgressions from the 1980s, that's plain ridiculous. Someone who committed a drugs offence during the Reagan administration shouldn't be denied a job opportunity in the fall of 2013. Right? Let's pass judgments in the current state of things, not what we had to deal with 20 years ago.

Second -- the whole technical argument being made seems to revolve around the idea that mixing "control code" and "style sheets" in a single format is bad. I've got quite a bit of past experience in writing software that builds doc files (the binary ones) and I can state with great certainty that this is NOT how Word works. Everything is a style, whether explicitly or implicitly by combining styles with direct formatting, and every style is able to be (and usually is) inherited from a parent style. You don't have to explicitly define the combined styles, and in more recent versions of Word they've made it much clearer that that's what is happening. (IMO Word 2007 is the first version where they actually got the UI right)

A lot of people are confused by all this because older versions of Word favoured UI simplicity over structurally beautiful documents. A lot of that has to do with trying to convince WordPerfect users to come over to Word..... anyone remember the complaints that everyone had in the 1990s about how Word didn't have a "Reveal Codes" function like WordPerfect? Yeah, that's because THERE ARE NO CODES like the author of TFA claims.

Third -- the Word style system is remarkably similar to HTML + CSS. It's hierarchical layout with the ability to override anything at any time. Presentation and content are "ideally" totally separate, and you can certainly work this way in Word if you are disciplined, but nothing at all stops you from saying "yeah I -know- this block of text is 14pt but I want this one word to be 12pt."

The author also drills pretty hard on the point that the format of Word documents has changed from one version to the next. Well, yeah....they added features like Table Styles and List Styles in Word 2002. Surely nobody is expecting documents that utilize this really helpful feature to older versions of Word..... right? This is no great conspiracy.....it's just a case of adding new features. Switching to the XML-based document format and standardizing the format with Ecma and ISO has definitely helped settle the format down, but if a word processor doesn't support a feature in a newer version of the document format, well.....tough shit. I don't hear anybody bitching about how Firefox 3.6 doesn't fully implement CSS3, accordingly people shouldn't bitch about how Word 2000 doesn't implement features new to Word 2010!

One last thing: I'm posting this to debunk some mythology and refute the author's claims, but I'm not defending the old-school Office document format....yeah, it was driven by a very 1990s need to be fast on old 286s etc. (same reason Windows 3.0 APIs lacked a lot of bounds checking, BTW) and the format is a proprietary file system unto itself (doc files always come in sizes of multiples of 8192 bytes because that was the size of a block of data regardless of its content). But those times are long gone now. We should have a great appreciation for the people who worked really hard on decoding all this ten years ago and published some good Perl modules on CPAN.... I've read all that source code and it is insane. And we should have an appreciation for those who pushed Microsoft to go "open" with their Office formats. Openness was pushed into Office without users even realizing it, which is good for everyone.

Comment: Re:A Mature Local Machine Product vs Immature Clou (Score 5, Informative) 346

by Daltorak (#42401719) Attached to: Google Docs Vs. Microsoft Word: an Even Matchup?

it has features that fit any conceivable needs

Speak for yourself. I use Google Docs for lots of things, where Word simply does not fit. For ex:

1. Daily time-sheets of my team members with details of work done, and time spent, with status.

2. Project progress of my department; which plugs into the that of the entire division.


3. A taxi dispatch system uses Google docs to find out current location, availability, status etc using Google docs. Word is totally unusable in such scenarios.

Wait, what? Are you talking about the ability to do real-time collaborative editing of Word documents here?

Word (and Excel, and Onenote) has this already, and has for a few years now. It's part of the Skydrive integration. Documents are stored "in the cloud" but you get a local copy, too, for disconnected editing. Any machine (or phone, yes even iPhones and Androids) connected to Skydrive gets the synced up copies too). Version history (up to 25 versions anyway) are stored. Hell, even the OS X versions of Word and Excel support real-time collaborative editing. You don't even need Office installed.... the web app versions of Office 2013 are free.

In short -- Microsoft has real-time editing of an Excel document by someone using a native app on Windows, a native app on OS X, and someone using Chrome on a Linux system. Your uses cases are supported just fine.

Comment: Re:Oh, boy! (Score 1) 99

by Daltorak (#41964007) Attached to: The Shumway Open SWF Runtime Project

Having experienced just how slowly pdf.js renders documents longer than a page or two - I can't WAIT to see how well implementing swf in javascript goes!

Implementing SWF in Javascript can't possibly be more complicated than implementing A Javascript x86 emulator that boots into Linux and can run gcc .... could it?

Comment: Re:Not replace, but maybe work with. (Score 1) 388

by Daltorak (#41874983) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Samba4 a Viable Alternative To Active Directory?

I don't think you can replace Active Directory for things like Group Policy, etc.

Strictly speaking, Group Policy and user settings management stuff is not "Active Directory". It is a layer on top of Active Directory, which was originally called IntelliMirror but now just goes by the name Group Policy. All "Active Directory" gives you is a scalable authentication layer based on DNS and Kerberos with some interesting hierarchy features, the ability to "trust" other AD organizations to varying degrees, as well as a schema-based object system that anyone can expand on. AD objects can represent any kind of "thing" you have in your organization.

If you had the resources, you could probably build a complete OS X or Linux-based user and computer settings management system, on top of Active Directory, without actually doing things the "Windows way". As long as the operating system/desktop environment supports a way of storing and protecting settings that a user can access but not change, then you're good to go. (This is the one thing the Registry has going for it -- you can secure individual settings, whereas with other operating systems, you can only apply security at the file level.)

Comment: The only non-productive comments in your code.... (Score 2) 186

by Daltorak (#41650423) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dedicating Code?

.... should be positive ones. Inside jokes, cultural references, maybe a rewritten song lyric, or something else that lightens up the task of writing production-quality code.
(e.g. a class in our code base, for instance, has a function called YoDawg() whose responsibility is to recursively instantiate itself.)

Keeping your work life separate from your personal life is extremely important. You should not be bringing your grief into your professional work. We've all lost parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, friends, past lovers, former co-workers, and some of us even lose our spouses and children. It's really f-ing difficult to deal with, even years afterwards. If we all brought that grief into our professional lives, we'd all be professionally miserable. It's not healthy, and it's not fair to others who don't share your grief.

Comment: Re:Services (Score 4, Informative) 306

by Daltorak (#37647578) Attached to: Windows 8 To Reduce Memory Footprint

> it will also let services start on a trigger and stop when needed instead of running all the time.


Although I have to wonder, why are "services" treated differently than other programs, in this context or any other? Does it have any positive effect?

First of all, it's worth noting that Service trigger events shipped with Windows 7.... they're just making better use of this capability in Windows 8. (This is a common flaw with Microsoft's development process for Windows.... they include some really smart new APIs but then take another 5 years to start really using them thoroughly in Windows itself.)

But to your main question -- why are services different from other programs? A service is actually a regular program, with one exception -- it hooks into the operating system to receive events telling it to pause, continue or stop its operation.

Why do this? Management. You don't want 20 different programs with 20 different ways of starting & stopping them.

A feature the Windows Service Control Manager offers is the ability to run your service in a single pooled process alongside other services that require roughly the same privileges on the system. You can see this at work in the Windows 7 task manager -- go to the Services tab and sort the list by PID. If you ever wondered what "svchost.exe" is on a Windows system, or why there are several running on your system, each under different user accounts...... there you go.

Comment: Re:Why not Safari as well as Chrome? (Score 1) 110

by Daltorak (#36026234) Attached to: Chrome, IE To Allow Users To Delete Flash Cookies

It's the same base engine, isn't it? What about the non-google Chromium? Will it work with Adobe to erase cookies?

This isn't a "base engine" issue -- it's a browser UI issue. Each browser needs to offer an API hook to plugins that allow them to say, "hey, call this function when the user has requested their browsing history be deleted!" So, the way you phrased your last question is backwards -- Adobe must work with browser capabilities, not the other way around.

In the case of IE8 and later, this is a one-function COM interface that gets passed a single flags parameter indicating what types of objects should be deleted. Pretty simple stuff..... why it took Adobe more than two years to implement this obvious little capability is beyond me.

I haven't been able to find an equivalent in Firefox 4's NPAPI documentation, but it may exist. If it doesn't now, it will soon -- it's a really obvious feature to have.

Also, for what it's worth, the Flash local storage is global to your user profile, not local to the browser.... so asking Chrome to delete your browser history will mean Flash cookies are deleted in all other browsers.

Comment: Re:Okay, here's a question ... (Score 4, Informative) 305

by Daltorak (#34653778) Attached to: New IE Zero Day

Microsoft has released a notice about a new zero day attack against Internet Explorer.

And this is noteworthy why? How many Slashdotters use Internet Explorer for anything other than the occasional WindowsUpdate in XP? This may be News for Nerds, but it hardly matters. Everyone here knows very well that Internet Explorer is too dangerous for general Web use. That Microsoft is suffering yet another security failure doesn't really elicit much interest from me, I must say.

Weeellllll, that's the stereotype, sure, but the on-the-ground reality paints a different picture.

Surely you've noticed that Firefox 3.6 is up to its 13th point release since January,and #14 is just around the corner. The first Secunia security advisory for this browser was issued within weeks of its initial release, and there now have been 11 in total, covering 85 separate vulnerabilities in Firefox 3.6. Look at SA42517 for an example, which was published two weeks ago. In that one advistory alone, 13 different security bugs are addressed, covering a wide variety of attack vectors like large Javascript arrays and large parameters to document.write(). And when you look at the fixes made in source control to patch these bugs, you sometimes scratch your head and wonder, how the fuck did they miss that when coding it?

But the problem with Firefox is worse than that. On Windows and Mac OS X, users are prompted over and over again to install these point updates. It requires elevation to Administrator privileges, and it requires restarting the browser. I see people routinely ignoring these updates because it'd interrupt what they're doing..... and the web server logs I have access to are a mishmash of Firefox browser versions.

This is a browser with 25% of the worldwide marketshare -- more than any version of Internet Explorer save for version 8.

So.... how about Google Chrome, you say? Their patching setup is far superior (that's why I use it), but it's not like the browser is any better-written. Just this month there have already been eighteen disclosed security vulnerabilities. And that's only slightly worse than average for a month in Chrome land. There are actually a number of Google Chrome bugs which are marked as only affecting the Linux version, too. Look at CVE-2010-4041 for an example of what I mean.

What I'm trying to say here is this -- Internet Explorer's security profile isn't significantly different than the other major vendors. They all have poorly-coded browsers that focused on packing the features in, without taking due consideration to the safety of the code they're writing. If you want to single out Microsoft for criticism, let's talk about the fact that they take so long to get these fixes out, and that reboots are often required to get the patches in place. That's where Firefox and especially Chrome are ahead.

In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences. -- R.G. Ingersoll