Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Compile for the architecture (Score 2, Insightful) 174

While an AMD chip can run x86-64 code compiled for an Intel processor, it isn't surprising that the code doesn't perform as well since a lot of optimisations relate to features of the specific chip. You can't use a precompiled binary across all chips and expect them to be useful other than to say one chip can run that binary quicker than another. I remember years back having some code that was optimised for the Intel PIII and when that same code ran on the AMD Opteron it was slower despite the Intel running at a clock speed of 1.4Ghz and the AMD running at 1.7. Once I went in and had a look at the ASM I could see why - the AMD had a 64 bit bus and the code was using instructions which weren't as efficient on AMD's chip as a result of this. Once I realised that, I rewrote that section of code to account for this and the AMD ended up being 30% quicker than the old code when I rewrote four lines of C. Compiler optimisations only go so far but you still have to be aware of the underlying chip if you really want to get the most out of it.

Comment Oddly enough I use a VPN to *NOT* watch Netflix US (Score 2) 172

Personally, I'm really into documentaries and the likes. The problem is Netflix US has all these utterly terrible american style docs which stop every five minutes to recap due to ad breaks which aren't there (in case you haven't seen them, the streamlined Mythbusters are a joy if you know where to get them because they chop out all this crap)

Anyway, Netflix UK has a lot more really good documentaries and since they're for UK viewers, particularly the BBC where there aren't adverts, you get a solid hour of really good information rather than 'Aliens' almost immediately followed by 'Before the break, Aliens'.

If Netflix can switch to a global model all the better but for now I have little choice but to pay a little extra to enable me to fully utilise the service because if I was stuck with the US version I don't think I would care enough to pay the monthly subscription.

Comment Re:Projectors? (Score 2) 235

I've been doing projectors since the mid 1990's after I saw one in the Smithsonian showing the asteroid scene from Empire and was wowed by the scale of the image. The quality (NTSC) wasn't so great but there were ways even then to improve it with line doublers and scalers plus using LaserDisc instead of VHS.

The cost of projection has come down and the quality has gone up over time and I'm now on my fourth projector. They've all been DLP and I typically run them at 100" or bigger. My current one (Optoma HD50) is full HD and 3D. The image (once calibrated) gives a cinema a real run for the money. Add a great surround system and you're rarely going to need to see a film at the cinema for the full effect. Big direct view screens are too full of features, too small unless you pay serious money (I have a 55" 4K set which was OK) and the smart TV features get in the way often, not to mention all the silly image processing that makes the picture worse. If you can spare the space for the screen (mine is ceiling mounted drop down) or have a large white wall available then you can have home cinema on the sort of budget that will only buy you a mid size direct view screen.

Comment Buy a Mac (Score 1) 4

I had similar experience some years back with a Compaq laptop that had a number of keys on the keyboard fail and the shop refused to accept it could be a hardware failure unless I was running Windows so I wiped it, restored from the recovery disc and showed the keyboard still didn't work, and just asked for my money back because I was going to put Linux on a replacement and wouldn't be happy if I had to keep Windows just so they would honour the warranty. I took my cash elsewhere and bought a Mac which came with a nice UNIX pre installed and supported and it cost less money than a decent Windows laptop anyway.

Comment Nearly got me to buy an Xbox One (Score 1) 63

I was very close to dropping cash on an XBOne when I heard about backwards compatibility. I've had a 360 since launch and have a pretty large selection of games and my 360 being a first gen lacks modern features like HDMI. Then I looked at the list to see what games I owned were on it. There are two. Sigh. I ended up buying a preowned 360 Elite which has HDMI and moved on. I already have a PS4 and PC so the current gen games are well covered so I don't think there's room for an XBOne until it can realistically cover the majority of my collection, especially Red Dead Redemption since we're never likely to see an HD remake of that.

Comment goto? (Score 1) 576

Really, a goto? That's the best solution to this issue? I can actually read the crap code and while I don't particularly like it since it is assigning the values inside the if statement, that isn't the problem for me. It is the goto. I haven't used a goto in 35 years since I first discovered structured programming and I've been a C programmer for 25 years and while the statement exists in C there's just no need to use it (I never have), especially in this case. The fail_toobig should be a routine that is called rather than a label and there should be an if then else in there too. Linus' code is ugly too. Better than the first one, but still ugly.

Comment Re:Dumb Article (Score 1) 267

"MacBooks obviously have qualities that appeal to people, or they wouldn't sell."

Indeed, and it isn't price. Start with a well built case - I know the guts are the same as any PC but Macs are incredibly well put together compared with the typical cheap PC and to get a PC that competes with a Mac for build quality you actually spend more because those PCs don't sell in the same volume as the Mac does. Go figure, the Mac is cheaper.

Then you add an operating system that is solid and stable and designed for the machine it runs on rather than being a combination of drivers from various vendors to run whatever the currently cheapest components are stuffed into a box all on an operating system that just doesn't know what it wants to be - desktop, tablet, phone. Choose one MS. Seriously, Windows 10 is still a huge step backwards from Windows 7 even if it is better than Windows 8.

The SurfaceBook looks interesting but it isn't reigniting anything. If I want to spend that sort of money, I'm not buying a Windows box, I'm buying a Mac and if I want a Windows box, I'm not paying that money, I'll take the cheapest crap Dell and co are putting out. There's the crux of the problem. All the money is going to Apple even if MS and co are getting the volume. Making little money on high volume isn't a good business to be in because you have a lot of customers to support and insufficient cash coming in to do it. The result is your software appears buggy and you appear unable to deal with it. Sound familiar? Worse, if I wanted something really cheap, I would look at a Chromebook. MS is getting squeezed at both ends and they don't have an answer. Windows 10 certainly isn't it.

We're witnessing a change that has been brewing for a long long time. The roots of things change date back into the 90's and the momentum is now so great that MS hasn't got the power to push back. They can either accept it and restructure around the new reality where PCs and Windows aren't the centre of the computing world, or they can die.

Comment Re:And how much does the rest of the world owe us? (Score 2, Insightful) 528

"Capitalist societies also lifted billions out of poverty while socialism killed 100 million."

Socialism != communism

Socialist countries have healthcare freely available to their entire population and social services protecting the disadvantaged and giving everyone a fair shot at life. The US isn't anywhere close to those levels of social support.

Comment Copenhagen really is the city of the future (Score 4, Interesting) 84

I had the pleasure of spending a couple of weeks in Copenhagen earlier this year. The public transport is excellent, there are separate cycle paths with their own traffic lights everywhere, and now you can rent an electric car if you absolutely need one. We used the train a lot and walked around many Km too. It was easy to rent a car when we did need one but if I lived there it is highly unlikely I would want to own one because the traffic is pretty bad and the public transport offered is excellent. The car is such a dinosaur when it comes to getting around a city.

Comment Get a 3 SIM in Sweden and travel freely with it. (Score 1) 142

Last time I was in the UK, I bought a SIM from 3 and one of the features I didn't realise at the time was that I could use my phone abroad with that SIM exactly as I had in the UK. After I finished in the UK, I flew to Denmark and when I fired up the phone 3DK welcomed me to their network allowing me to use my unlimited UK data and also call and be called from UK numbers as if I was still in the UK. This was amazing based on previous experience with roaming from country to country. I drove over to Sweden and the same thing happened. Now that's all well and good, but what about the US? Turns out, when I landed in LAX, I was welcomed to AT&T's network and my unlimited data continued to work (3G only but still, not bad) and then I flew on to NZ and found myself on 2Degrees and still the phone and data worked. If you're not already with 3, I would strongly suggest switching. You can always buy a local cheap phone in the US for doing calls to US numbers, or do as I did and get some Skype credit which will go over the data.

Comment Re:iPhone 6+ (Score 2) 208

Another vote for the iPhone 6+. I've actually run it for five days without a charge just to see how long I could make it last. If you really hammer it with games and stuff then you'll chew through the battery but if you use it to make a few calls, do a bit of e-mail and text then it will last a working week. I do carry one of those little extra battery packs just in case and frankly, whenever I have a chance to charge my devices I take it but knowing that my phone always has days and days of power in reserve is so much better than it was with my old iPhone 4.

Comment Xbox One went from a nope to probably nope (Score 3, Interesting) 193

I've had a 360 since launch (technically three if you count the replacement motherboards) and I would have got the One if it had backwards compatibility, even to the standard that the 360 could play original Xbox games by using most of the on disc assets but having a recompiled native engine for the PPC chip in the 360. This doesn't look quite like that unfortunately but I'll watch with interest as I'm not sure how much longer my 360 will survive and there are still games on it I would like to play through again. If it does support enough of the games I already own (the list currently has none) then I may well add an Xbox One to go with my PS4.

Comment Re:Windows is obsolete. (Score 1) 133

"Of those 1.37 billion web requests, over 58% came from a Windows system. Even Windows 8.1 alone has more users than OS X does in total, and that's one of the most despised versions of Windows!"

Lets think back to 2000 or so when around 99% of web requests were coming from Windows and think about just how far Windows has fallen in that time. While I agree that Mac OS X isn't really setting the world on fire (and I say that as a Mac user) I do see an awful lot of Macs out there and far more than there were in 2000 so Apple has certainly made up a lot of ground. Also, consider that when you're sitting at a desktop you're likely using the web a lot, but a phone is just occasional use so the fact that 42% of web requests aren't coming from Windows tells you a lot about how much kit is out there that is connecting to the internet. The important change since 2000 is that you could barely manage on the web without IE on Windows. I know, I was a Linux user then and browsing was very painful at times. These days, the web is much better to use because it has to handle all these different browsers on phones and alternative desktops. The thing that kept Windows at the top for all of the 90's was the fact that alternatives couldn't get a shoe in the door. These days, it is very easy to drop Windows. If you want a nice desktop, a Mac is a really good place to go because you get a real desktop OS without all that touch screen, phone UI rubbish shoved into it. You want a phone that works well as a phone and has lots of software? Android and iOS have you covered. Windows has lost the software high ground and the only reason it still has 58% of web requests going to it is simply inertia. MS is desperate to slow the slide but it keeps on going down. I've used Windows 10 and I don't see anything there that will stop this process if they can't get devs to actually put out apps that are unique to Windows and attractive. I don't think they can get back to the heyday of the 90's and having lived and worked through it, I don't think they ever should because we're in a much better place today with real choice. MS should be happy that they still have any customers under the circumstances given just how badly they treated everyone when they were on top.

Slashdot Top Deals

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.