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PC Mag Slams Cheap Wal-Mart Linux Desktop 671

Posted by Zonk
from the not-all-that-the-penguin-could-be dept.
An anonymous reader writes "PC Magazine reviews the $200 Linux desktop wonder sold by Wal-Mart. This desktop sold out quickly and has been cited as proof that consumers are tired of the Windows tax and ready for Linux. Not so according to PC Magazine, which gave the gPC a 1.5 star rating." Previous discussions we've had about system reviews were realistic but not quite so harsh; is this just nitpicking or is the 'shiny' starting to wear off of the cheap Linux PC concept?
Music

+ - The Death of High Fidelity 1

Submitted by
Ponca City, We Love You
Ponca City, We Love You writes "Rolling Stone has an interesting story on how record producers alter the way they mix albums to compensate for the limitations of MP3 sound. Much of the information left out during MP3 compression is at the very high and low ends, which is why some MP3s sound flat. Without enough low end, "you don't get the punch anymore. It decreases the punch of the kick drum and how the speaker gets pushed when the guitarist plays a power chord." The inner ear automatically compresses blasts of high volume to protect itself, so we associate compression with loudness and human brains have evolved to pay particular attention to loud noises, so compressed sounds initially seem more exciting. But the effect doesn't last. After a few minutes, constant loudness grows fatiguing to the brain. Though few listeners realize this consciously, many feel an urge to skip to another song. "We're conforming to the way machines pay music. It's robots' choice. It used to be ladies' choice — now it's robots' choice," says Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen."
Operating Systems

+ - VMware Fusion Makes OS X, Linux Transparent->

Submitted by slashy
slashy (666) writes "A recent article states that VMware's Fusion makes operating systems more transparent, especially the less popular ones, such as OS X and Linux. How? "Even with all of the great efforts of the virtual machine vendors, we need to see a truly transparent base for the average user so they can get their preferred applications to work as expected. Obviously, this is not possible, although I have seen efforts to make the concept of porting much less intensive. Still, in the end, there remains a barrier. I can tell you exactly how this level of transparency could work if certain things were to take place, and fully expect the usual round of e-mail dictating why this entire notion is insane. Great, looking forward to it."
Link to Original Source
Microsoft

+ - 7 Reasons Why Microsoft is DOOMED!-> 1

Submitted by
d3bugg3r
d3bugg3r writes "Not this year, not next year... but soon — almost certainly by the next decade.



#1. Their business model is a dead-end. — Back when Microsoft first started business in 1980, software as a commodity was still a fuzzy concept. Computers, themselves, were flying off the shelves, and of course you bought game cartridges for game consoles, but what little computer software was being sold in the early 1980's was worth a few dollars at the most. And then came "Micro-soft" — a BASIC interpreter on a floppy disk in a zip-lock plastic baggy! But somehow, it caught on.



Now, in 2007, the concept of software as a commodity is rapidly wearing off again. Today, it's all about the service and maintenance — something that Microsoft isn't prepared to deal with.



#2. They flunk at Web 2.0. — Another shift in the technology market is the much-hyped web app. When you can get more and more of your programs to download from a server and run in a web browser, your whole operating system — as far as what needs to be installed on your computer goes — can be a life-support system for a web browser. You can even get a full operating system to run in your browser! Meanwhile, the biggest stake they have ever had in the Internet user-space is Internet Explorer.



#3. They're running out of friends. — First off, they've been brought up on multiple anti-trust charges in both the United States and Europe, plus been the subject of 130 lawsuits besides. Now consider that IBM, their former friend, now values Linux above Microsoft. And then there's Sun, Apple, Google, and Oracle, who are flat-out competitors to Microsoft while favoring at least open source, if not Linux proper. Even Adobe is starting to look like a competitor with Microsoft, with nearly a one-to-one mapping of what Adobe and Microsoft each offer.



#4. They only have a couple of cash cows to work with. — Yes, it's easy to look good when you consider their dominance on the desktop and office programs — but that's their two products that they stay afloat on is Windows and Office. What about the other ventures of Microsoft? Is MSN taking over share from Google and Yahoo? Did the Zune beat the iPod? How many of you bought Microsoft Surface? Web servers? Nope, Apache rules that roost. OK, so what about the XBox? Yes! The XBox is selling well... at a loss.



At this point, it is becoming apparent that Microsoft had better cling to that operating system and office suite, because every time they step into another market, they get their head handed to them.



#5. People are hating on Vista. — We didn't even see this many people mad about Windows ME.



#6. Their stock isn't rising any more. — This is not to say "this week", but rather over the last seven years. This chart shows a clear picture. You see the stock value climbing steadily until right at the year 2000 — then it fell gradually and has puttered along at a level rate ever since. Microsoft was once the most profitable stock you could trade, but with a seven year slump, that magic spell seems to be irrevocably broken.



#7. PC makers are starting to turn their backs on Microsoft. — Sure, small-time markets have offered alternatives to Microsoft, but when a giant PC seller like Dell starts selling Ubuntu machines, that's another big sign. HP has followed suit.



Five months ago, noted tech industry guru Paul Graham declared Microsoft dead. People laughed and even I was skeptical, but now that we see the further developments that have happened since that time, it may turn out that Paul Graham has the last laugh, yet."

Link to Original Source
Software

+ - Media Center GUIs 1

Submitted by Mooga
Mooga (789849) writes "I have a computer set up to a TV via s-video. I've been using it to watch videos found on my network as well as local games and emulators. The problem is that browsing through folders for files is hard to do since small text appears very blurry on the TV screen. I've tried searching for free Window front ends which would make it easier to scroll through programs and files on a TV screen. I've considered switching over to LinuxMCE, but I'm worried about its compatibility to windows as well as it's ability to handle the games and hardware that I will be using. I also have little experience with Linux and would rather use a Windows front end for the time being. Is there any windows software that will let me easily view and access files and programs on an older TV screen?"
Microsoft

+ - Is FSF spoiling for a fight with Microsoft?

Submitted by
talexb
talexb writes "There's a Groklaw article that refers to the Free Software Foundation's recent press release dissing Microsoft's disavowal of the GPL3. It sounds like someone at FSF is spoiling for a fight. Is this going to be a case of FSF vs. Microsoft, with the Open Source community funding the FSF (including IBM, perhaps?) Sounds like a War To End All Wars to me."
Technology (Apple)

+ - Can Apple+ATT shut down iPhone Unlockers?->

Submitted by aalobode
aalobode (758863) writes "Do Apple and AT&T have the legal right to stop hackers from selling unlocked iPhones? Under their terms, only AT&T may sell iPhones, and Apple gets a commission. When unlocked iPhones are used on other providers' networks, AT&T and hence Apple get nothing beyond what they earned on the initial sale of the hardware. Can they prohibit unlocking? Reselling? The article in Businessweek gives the for and against arguments, but appears to indicate that the hackers have the law on their side for once."
Link to Original Source
Books

+ - Harry Potter and the Chinese Pirates

Submitted by mrogers
mrogers (85392) writes "Many Slashdot readers will have come across files that claimed to be leaked copies of the seventh Harry Potter book — perhaps some even downloaded the genuine bootleg that was made by photographing every page. But the IHT reports that in China, Potter piracy has become a cottage industry.

Here, the global Harry Potter publishing phenomenon has mutated into something altogether Chinese: a combination of remarkable imagination and startling industriousness, all placed in the service of counterfeiting, literary fraud and copyright violation.
Titles like "Harry Potter and the Hiking Dragon" are available alongside digital copies of the genuine article, raising the question of where fan fiction ends and counterfeiting begins. Is this a glimpse of what culture would be like without copyright?"

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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