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Comment Buy more hardware (Score 1) 257

Until about five years ago I supported a custom application running on CP/M. I just kept some spare hardware so that if anything broke I could swap it out, and I also could use the spare parts for developing on. Not that I actually did any development for the last fifteen years of the contract, all I did was visit once a year to blow the dust bunnies out.

Comment Typing speed (Score 1) 544

The main argument in favour of physical keyboards is that you can type faster on them. It's probably true. Trouble is, data input is a minute part of what people do on their phones, so it's a micro-optimisation. And it's a micro-optimisation that comes with all the costs associated with having to engineer a small device with loads of moving parts.

For the majority of people, a mildly sucky virtual keyboard - one whose quirks you quickly learn - is a price worth paying in exchange for a smaller, lighter more reliable device.

Comment In praise of older people (Score 1) 370

Right now we''re recruiting some more developers at my employer, and while we're not actively discriminating, we seem to be consistently favouring older applicants. You can only get so far with youngsters who are willing to work all hours - eventually you have to address the debt, both technical and process, that they leave behind. And to do that you need at least some older people to mentor the kids and to rebuild and maintain the relationships between your engineering team and the rest of the business.

Comment More disks (Score 1) 983

I'm backing up 8TB at home, by rsyncing to another 8TB of disk space. It's been working reliably for years, starting back when a TB was a lot and adding/replacing disks over time.

A 4TB hard disk is pretty cheap these days, so he just needs to get six of 'em and make another RAID array. Once you've done the initial rsync, I presume that subsequent changes will be relatively small, so transfer speed doesn't matter much, so he could hang them off a USB port in one of those USB-to-SATA dock things.

Comment Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (Score 1) 353

It would have been an electrical (or possibly mechanical if they could make it light enough) analogue computer. Analogue fire control computers were common on naval ships from WW1 onwards, and used in bomb sights and anti-aircraft guns in WW2. I presume that it would just be a moderately complex negative feedback system.

Mind you, the pictures make it look like it wouldn't really have been a useful military plane. Too small to carry any significant load, guns, or fuel. It was designed as a racer, not a military plane, and while companies like Supermarine could apply lessons from racing to mass-produced military machines, they still had to design the military machines from scratch and not just do quick adaptations to existing designs. The Spitfire, for example, has its origins in a 1931 design, and had two substantial re-designs before finally entering service in 1938. Even if the Germans get their hands on this unfinished prototype in mid 1940 when France falls, there's not a chance that they'd get anything related to it into production until they're already getting their heads kicked in by the Red Army and RAF Bomber Command.

Comment Not video games (Score 2) 669

I play Go. With real people, face-to-face, on a wooden board. I'm not interested in big flashy video games, and haven't been since Doom.

There are a few interesting games on iOS devices. They're mostly good because the very limited user interface - you don't have eleventy million keys, or joysticks - and limited CPU grunt, storage and memory means that game designers have to actually think about gameplay and come up with original ideas instead of just releasing yet another Doom clone with MOAR MEGGERPIKSELS. Harbour Master, Osmos, and Tower Bloxx are all a few years old but still great fun.

Comment I don't care about upgradeability (Score 1) 477

I'm posting this on my Macbook Pro, made of Chinese slaves' retinas. I love it.

I've never felt the urge to perform brain surgery on any of the laptops I've owned over the years. I bought each one pretty much maxed out, and ran it for four or five years. The one thing that irritates me about my latest Macbook is that I can't carry a spare battery with me. But on the other hand, its battery life is very good and it's very rare for me to spend so long between charging opportunities that it's a problem. And the one time it was, well, it's a price worth paying. Other laptops - and I looked at many when deciding which to buy - all found worse ways to suck.

The Internet

Some Of Australia's Tubes Are About To Be Filtered 339

Slatterz writes "The first phase of Australia's controversial Internet filters were put in place today, with the Australian government announcing that six ISPs will take part in a six-week pilot. The plan reportedly includes a filter blocking a list of Government-blacklisted sites, and an optional adult content filter, and the government has said it hasn't ruled out the possibility of filtering BitTorrent traffic. The filters have been widely criticized by privacy groups and Internet users, and people have previously even taken to the streets to protest. While Christian groups support the plan, others say filters could slow down Internet speeds, that they don't work, and that the plan amounts to censorship of the Internet. At this stage the filters are only a pilot, and Australia's largest ISP, Telstra, is not taking part. But if the $125.8 million being spent by the Australian Government on cyber-safety is any indication, it's a sign of things to come."

Comment Re:Let's cut the conspiracy theory (Score 1) 1589

I hope you always charge this nincompoop for helping him. After all, if you help him for free, there has to be a catch, there has to be a law being broken. And I don't mean just helping him with his computer. Charge him for helping him trim his garden hedge, for helping clear snow from his drive, for keeping an eye on his house when he's away, ...

Comment Re:WTF? (Score 1) 117

I'm one of that group. And yes, my beard *is* going grey. I've not used Windows for over a decade. I have no idea how to set up and configure a current Windows to be secure and to have a reasonable development environment. Nor do I care to learn, as I have better things to do with my time, like making tasty booze and grumbling about The Youth Of Today with their ghetto blasters and hard core pornography.

But if this lets me test my code on Windows before releasing it, and spot and fix stupid errors, then that's a Big Win. I still won't bother fixing any major Windows-only bugs (like Adam says, it's too big a time investment from which I will get no benefit), but the vast majority of bugs are trivial little things and I *will* fix those.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.