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Comment: Re:Microsoft (Score 2) 267

by Ed Avis (#47620655) Attached to: Skype Blocks Customers Using OS-X 10.5.x and Earlier
Well, you get what you pay for I guess. But if Skype has ambitions to replace ordinary telephony, it needs to adopt some of the same attitudes. It would never be acceptable for your phone company to suddenly cut you off without warning and tell you to buy a new phone. They should have a minimum six month period in which they warn that you will need to upgrade. Mac OS 10.5 is the last version running on PowerPC; if you have an older iMac or Mac Mini then it is not that cheap to upgrade to an Intel one, even second-hand. Back in 1995 the idea of using a decade-old machine was laughable. But hardware has been at the 'fast enough' level for a while now and there is no longer so much difference between old and new machines for many applications. Sure, you wouldn't expect to run the latest games or 4k video editing on your old box, but most bread and butter things like text editing and Web browsing work just fine on older hardware. Voice-over-IP is one of those basic things nowadays (even with crappy webcam video accompanying it). I don't think it's an unreasonable expectation that your PC which was capable of making voice calls in 2004 should still be able to make them in 2014.

Comment: Re:Question... -- ? (Score 1) 215

by Ed Avis (#47348819) Attached to: Exploiting Wildcards On Linux/Unix
Yes, there is a workaround you can use, if you know about it and remember it every time, to enable the safe behaviour. That does *not* count as 'problem solved'. To solve the problem, the safe behaviour needs to be the default, with the funky and unsafe behaviour of treating filenames as extra switches being the one you have to enable specially. Really - what are the odds that the user or programmer *intends* for a file called --foo to be treated as an option specifier when they expand a wildcard? Conceptually the fix is not hard. Each element in argv gets an associated flag saying whether it is a filename - and if it is marked as a filename, getopt() or whatever does not treat it as an option specifier even if it begins with the - character. Alternatively, filenames beginning - could simply be disallowed.

Comment: Re:multiple inputs for 4k? (Score 1) 186

by Ed Avis (#47280767) Attached to: 4K Monitors: Not Now, But Soon
That's how the later model IBM T221s worked (with additional converter boxes dangling off the monitor). Each half of the screen was seen as a 1920x2400 display. Some newer 4k monitors work similarly using multi-stream transport (MST). The video card sees two 1920x2160 displays. But there is only one DisplayPort cable. Dell's 24" and 32" 4k monitors are like this. Video drivers usually have special support for gluing the two halves back into a single display, but the extra complication can expose bugs in either the driver or the monitor's firmware.

Comment: Re:Supported (Score 1) 164

by Ed Avis (#47280569) Attached to: Endurance Experiment Writes One Petabyte To Six Consumer SSDs
I think that's what I was saying: a random mixture of disk sizes is not supported by this particular RAID implementation - it will only use the same size across each disk, meaning you are constrained to the size of the smallest disk in the pool. You have to upgrade all of the disks to a larger size before starting to use that size. Btrfs and ZFS sound like they handle it much better.

Comment: Re:Not a surprise (Score 1) 62

by Ed Avis (#47280221) Attached to: Freecode Freezeup
Yes that's right, the listing was deleted if you didn't respond. That tended to bite me as I would only check my personal email infrequently. I think that even if the listing owner disappeared completely, it would still be better to have an entry saying 'hey, this program exists, can you help find it?' and listing the last known whereabouts. But I see your point that you didn't just delete them without warning. Thanks for your work maintaining the site over many years.

Comment: Re:Not a surprise (Score 1) 62

by Ed Avis (#47271497) Attached to: Freecode Freezeup
The trouble with Freshmeat/Freecode was that they aggressively deleted entries when links broke. So if a project's homepage went down it would soon become unsearchable on the site. This reduced the site's usefulness as an archive of known free software. (Much better to keep the archived information and encourage people to fix the links - as a last resort, somebody who downloaded the tarball before the site went down could re-upload it somewhere.) Is there an alternative site which works as a kind of encylopaedia of free software? Github is great and all, but it is a project hosting site rather than an index of all software (which may be hosted externally and perhaps not even maintained in a public git repository).

Comment: Re:Display Port (Score 2) 186

by Ed Avis (#47263817) Attached to: 4K Monitors: Not Now, But Soon
No current DisplayPort standard supports two 4k monitors at 60Hz with a single output. The latest DisplayPort 1.2 will drive a single screen at 3840x2160@60Hz, but current monitors use multi-stream transport (MST) to do so which means the video card sees it as two separate monitors which then must be tiled together - this tends to expose driver bugs. DisplayPort 1.3 will increase the bandwidth but I don't think it has been finalized yet, nor is any hardware available.

Comment: Re:waiting for 8K (Score 1) 186

by Ed Avis (#47262043) Attached to: 4K Monitors: Not Now, But Soon
The IBM T220 was announced in 2001 and had a 3840x2400 resolution, effectively what marketing now calls "4k" plus a little bit extra vertical space. It was limited to 41Hz refresh, though its replacement the T221 a year or two later increased that to 48Hz (and the last model can be overclocked to 55Hz or so). Sadly there were then the monitor Dark Ages when the T221 was discontinued and the world seemed to regress to crappy resolutions like 1440x900. You're right that 2010 was the time things started to look up again, and 8k has been demonstrated as a prototype. 5 years sounds about right; the difficulty with an 8k monitor is not so much the panel (high-dpi panels exist already, and could be cut to a larger size like 30 inches) but driving it. With the current DisplayPort spec several independent cables would be needed to drive 8k at 60Hz.

Comment: Re:Ow, the ignorance (Score 1) 186

by Ed Avis (#47261987) Attached to: 4K Monitors: Not Now, But Soon
Yeah, I wish that there were better alternatives to the normal way of scrolling. Even at 60Hz refresh (and with pretty big font sizes on a 180dpi screen) it is not exactly easy on the eyes to read text as it scrolls. I like the old school way of hitting Space (or PgDn) to move down one screenful. But then you can lose track of where you were in the text. I'd like to see a horizontal red line showing the previous start of the screen, which would fade away over a second or two.

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman

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