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Comment: Re:Linux Mint (Score 1) 175

by Fallingwater (#41211631) Attached to: Ubuntu Gnome Remix 12.10 Arrives For Testing

I've had three separate goes with LMDE. First when it had just come out, and honestly I blame myself for that - you just don't try a distro before several months of testing by the public have passed. Video drivers wouldn't work, and it was full of bugs.
Second time just for kicks, as I have a business box that I don't really need but that's too worthless to sell, so I keep it as a backup computer and for those "ooh, new distro, let's check it out" moments. I couldn't get a positive feeling with it; things didn't quite work as seamlessly as the Mint people say, and I often found myself thinking "argh, why do I have to do this when in Debian it'd just work?". Eventually I just switched back to Debian.
Third time was when a friend asked me for something that was "like ubuntu but without the mess". Thought maybe LMDE had matured enough by then, so I installed it and we tinkered at it for a while. It was not a particularly pleasant experience. I ended up installing PCLinuxOS on my friend's laptop, and they've never been happier.

Comment: Re:Good (Score 1) 228

by Fallingwater (#41153563) Attached to: Lexmark To Exit Inkjet Printer Market

However their inkjets are cheap to buy very expensive to run

Can't say anything about the rest because I haven't printed anything in years, but Lexmarks and, I think, HPs (I might be wrong on the second brand, but I'm sure there was at least another one) were among the very few brands that had the heads built in the cartridges. This increased the prices of the cartridges and made them awfully expensive to run... if you didn't recharge the cartridges yourself. If you did, they had the significant advantage that a blockage resulting from dried-up low-quality ink inside the heads was easily fixable by replacing the cartridge rather than the whole printer. For DIY rechargers, this made them easily the cheapest to run.

Comment: Re:$179 (Score 1) 202

by Fallingwater (#41121243) Attached to: Serious Problems With USB and Ethernet On the Raspberry Pi

Because that thing is running a WM8750 chip. I only have experience with the WM8650, but it'd take some major improvements for the 8750 to be much better, and we didn't see that in the 8505-to-8650 move so I don't have high hopes. Anyway... this entire class of VIA processors is disgustingly slow. They're so bad I don't even go "better than nothing"; in this case nothing would be better, because at least you'd be doing something else instead of waiting on the CPU all the time while twiddling your thumbs.

I guess it might be useful for embedded projects and preferable in those instances if it cost $10 and ran Linux reliably (it seems to only run Android presently), but it can't possibly hold a candle to a RasPi, or even those low-cost Cortex-powered Android sticks that DealExtreme has been selling for a few weeks now.

Comment: Re:love Arch (Score 1) 120

by Fallingwater (#41121173) Attached to: Arch Linux For Newbies? Manjaro Is Here!

Having never actually tried Arch, from what I read about it I gather that it's more efficient than Ubuntu. Then again, pretty much every distro that isn't Ubuntu is more efficient than Ubuntu.
It's also supposedly more minimalistic (a term I've come to loathe due to its popularity among the apple zealots), elegant and with emphasis on code correctness (quoting Wikipedia here).

Still and all, so far I haven't seen any reason to switch away from Debian for Serious Business and PCLinuxOS for user-friendly stuff. I might give a try to Manjaro on a non-mission-critical box and see what happens.

Comment: Re:Every keyboard is washable (Score 2) 205

by Fallingwater (#41093127) Attached to: Logitech Releases Washable Keyboard

I almost got a (fantastically paying, sigh) job at a company that specializes in washing computer electronics.

When a flood or a fire occurs in a datacenter, you see, some machines are inevitably damaged beyond hope, and those are junked; however, plenty more end up with caked dust, grime, fire retardant foam, mud and soot in every nook and cranny, including all the connectors, and this stops the machine from working despite the hardware being perfectly fine. My job would have been to take apart the computers in question to the smallest bits, disconnect everything and wash the affected board with a suitable cleaning solution, then dry them out, reassemble the whole thing, hit the power button and hope the magic smoke stays in. The cost of doing this is about 10% of the cost of replacing all the affected machines.

I was practically certain to get the job, then the economic crisis hit and they stopped hiring and had to resize themselves. *sigh*

Comment: Re:Rank Amateurs (Score 1) 112

by Fallingwater (#41079531) Attached to: Video Purports To Show Successful Hover Bike Test Flights

I wish I could throw money at a project like this so I could show you mine. :P

If I could, though, I suppose it'd be a scaled-up quadrotor (possibly turbine-powered) with a pilot under it. It seems just more sensible than this two-rotor thing that seems to want to kill its pilot at the slightest provocation.

Also, the fact that it flies without electronics is not a good thing. Multirotor setups, especially those with a high center of gravity, benefit immensely from computer-controlled stability.

Comment: Re:Wish it had "apps" (Score 1) 93

by Fallingwater (#41047617) Attached to: Nintendo Release 3DS XL and New Mario 2 In the USA Today

Because then you wouldn't call it a game console. You'd call it a general purpose computer.

This is what most non-nerds don't get... consoles ARE general purpose computers, only they've been crippled into only working with games and possibly a few other select tasks. This has been made eminently clear by all the aftermarket dashboards for the X-box that would turn it into a full-blown computer, not to mention the whole PS3 Linux fiasco.

Along the way came the personal computer. Its primary focus wasn't games at all, but performing and computational task, including communicating with others. At first these machines couldn't run games as well as the dedicated game console hardware could, but in time the general purpose computers improved and surpassed the expensive game consoles in terms of processing power

Not really. Gaming computers have always been more powerful than consoles, provided they're reasonably recent. There's a reason why most console ports have limitations absent in the PC version (unless the PC version is the port, which usually causes consolization and angry gamers).

Just as I have seen the mechanical machines give way to more general purpose digital arcade machines, and watched the decline of the arcades in competition with more capable home consoles, I am now watching the general purpose computer make consoles obsolete.

Are we living on the same planet? The console market has been much bigger than the PC market for years now. I freakin' WISH consoles would drop out of existence, but it's not going to happen.

Comment: Re:Dear Google (Score 1) 294

by Fallingwater (#40956139) Attached to: Google To Start Punishing Pirate Sites In Search Results

The article says google will penalize the results, not eliminate them. Presumably this means that searching for the name of an artist alone will return more legitimate links, but searching for the same thing followed by "torrent" will still direct you to horrible illegal child-raping piracy.

I think this is an attempt to discourage occasional piracy from the sort of user who might go "oh, look, a torrent page in the middle of my search, let's see what it is" rather than from the people who explicitly want to pirate.

I still don't like Google's bending over to the entertainment cartels, but the situation is - at least currently - not as bad as some make it sound.

Comment: Re:The what? (Score 1) 328

by Fallingwater (#40930703) Attached to: Debian Changes Default Desktop From GNOME To XFCE

Use Plop Bootmanager. In my experience, many systems that are too old (or just too weird; I'm looking at you, Acer) to boot properly from USB will work with Plop. You burn it to a CD (there's a special version for PCMCIA USB2.0 cards), then boot the computer from that; you're then presented with a bootloader with all the partitions it can find, including USB drives. You can attempt booting any of them, but only those with a system will run anything (duh). Old USB1.1 systems without PCMCIA will work, but that's only good for (very slow) installs - actually running a live system from USB1.1 is about as painful as it sounds. I've had a few old laptops that didn't want to play nice with Plop, but they're the exception rather than the rule.

Comment: No Just No (Score 2) 299

by Fallingwater (#40359339) Attached to: The $45 Windows Laptop

WonderMedia WMwhatever processors are INCREDIBLY slow. I have a tablet powered by a WM8650, which is the improved version of he WM8505 the article talks about, and you're always waiting on the CPU to slowly do its thing - both on Android and Debian. It also has 256 megs of RAM, which is about a fourth of what you need for proper general computing nowadays. And this one has even less.
The WM8505 might be ok for embedded stuff, but as a CPU for general computing, especially with such little RAM and *especially* if it's running Windows, it's really worse than nothing - at least with nothing you go do something else, instead of twiddling your fingers while you wait for the damn thing to display a webpage or something.

Comment: Years and years of hatred for the Windows brand (Score 1) 1027

by Fallingwater (#40331673) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's Your Beef With Windows Phone?

If Windows Phone were a wholly new brand it might stand a bigger chance; as it is, the general opinion of the brand has been negatively impacted by the pains Windows has inflicted on the world's users during the years. Everyone's been enduring Windows anyway and buying it because that's what everyone's software runs on, but that's an advantage Microsoft can't count on in the world of smartphones - in fact, this factor plays against them now.

In other words, Microsoft is reaping the well-deserved fruits of all the years of accumulated hatred and mistrust from its userbase.

Comment: Re:mac (Score 2) 732

by Fallingwater (#40127545) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Shop For a Laptop?

Or an Acer. Or a Packard-Bell or an eMachines, which are both effectively Acer.

I fix computers for a living, most of those I fix are laptops, and most of those that are not fixable end up in the parts pile because the owners often don't want them back. As a result I have a small number of dead Toshibas, Sonys and other known brands... and a growing pile of dead Acers. Stay the hell away.

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval

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