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Comment: Re:The Model F is even better (Score 1) 304

by Ed Avis (#48101467) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made
Yup, the PC-AT keyboard has the one true enter key in the large reverse L shape. After that things went downhill: the US layout for the Model M chopped off the top part and made Enter a thin horizontal line like Shift, and the international or ISO layout (which I normally use) chopped off the left hand part and left Enter as a rectangle: better than the US version, but still too small for one of the most frequently used keys on the board.

The biggest annoyance with the AT keyboard is the lack of F11 and F12 keys, if your applications use those (e.g. to step into statements in a debugger). The Esc key being on the numeric keypad is also odd but you get used to that.

There's also the 122-key Model F 'aircraft carrier', which has a much more modern layout, close to the international Model M layout.

But if you do prefer the US Model M layout (de gustibus non est disputandum, after all), then here's a way to modify the PC-AT keyboard: http://geekhack.org/index.php?...

Comment: Re:I love Model Ms. I still have two of them. (Score 1) 304

by Ed Avis (#48100703) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made
I have never heard of a Model M keyboard damaging a computer when plugged into the PS/2 keyboard port. After all, the PS/2 keyboard port is specifically designed for PS/2 keyboards, and the Model M is like the reference implementation. When driven over USB using an adaptor, it is true that a Model M will require more current than a newer keyboard, but still within the USB spec.

Comment: Re:I love Model Ms. I still have two of them. (Score 2) 304

by Ed Avis (#48093377) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made
Recycle them? Noooo! Please tell us you at least gave them to a thrift store or sold them on Ebay. FWIW, the recommended PS/2 to USB adaptor is called the 'blue cube' and works well with the Model M. There's also Soarer's Converter which you can build yourself with a Teensy programmable microcontroller, and handles a wide range of old keyboards including the M.

Comment: The Model F is even better (Score 3, Informative) 304

by Ed Avis (#48093249) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made
Model Ms are great. I have about a dozen of them. But the earlier Model F (based on capacitive switches underneath buckling spring) is even better. The Model F keyboard included with the original IBM PC excels in being heavy and clicky, but it has an awkward layout. The PC-AT introduced a much better layout, and the keyboard is electrically compatible with the later PS/2 plug (you just need a $2 adaptor). I am typing on a PC-AT keyboard now.

Comment: Re:DPI Scaling (Score 1) 204

by Ed Avis (#47878311) Attached to: Dell Demos 5K Display
Have you tried Windows's DPI scaling? I am using Windows 7 with 200% font size and it works well. Before that I used Windows XP and that worked almost as well. To get a usable scaled display, pick exactly 200% so that if icons have to be scaled up they do so cleanly - I agree that odd multiples like 150% can look ugly. Next, make sure Aero is turned off and switch back to a 'classic' theme. The scaling is set in Control Panel -> Display -> Set custom text size (DPI). I use this at work and PuTTY, Firefox, Microsoft Office and sundry other tools all work fine. The only things which don't scale, annoyingly, are the command prompt window and Remote Desktop.

Comment: Re:In other news: Are 4K displays worth getting ye (Score 1) 204

by Ed Avis (#47861025) Attached to: Dell Demos 5K Display
It depends what you do. For text-based workflow (Emacs, web browsing, possibly an IDE) 30Hz is fine. I've even gone as low as 12Hz refresh (on an early model IBM T221 connected to a laptop with only a single DVI output) and it was usable. Tip: if you do end up with 30Hz, Nvidia cards let you turn off vsync. This seems to speed up refresh a bit, making the mouse pointer smoother.

Comment: Re:In other news: Are 4K displays worth getting ye (Score 1) 204

by Ed Avis (#47850683) Attached to: Dell Demos 5K Display
FWIW, at work I use 24" 4k monitors with 200% font scaling on Windows 7, and pretty much every application works fine. The only thing which doesn't scale is the command prompt window. Note that I am talking about the old font size selector in Control Panel which has been there for years and years - the first thing to do is to turn off all of that Aero crap.

Comment: Re:First impressions (Score 1) 220

by Ed Avis (#47824873) Attached to: Firefox 32 Arrives With New HTTP Cache, Public Key Pinning Support
Yes, I wonder the same thing. I use Pale Moon on a portable (Panasonic CF-U1) which has a reasonable amount of RAM (2 gigs) but the slowest hard disk you've seen since about 1988. The disk is an SSD but so slow it might as well be a floppy drive. Browsing is subject to freezes on disk activity and I guess that some of that might be due to the disk cache. Firefox's new code should help that, so it might make vanilla Firefox faster than Pale Moon on this machine.

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.

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