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Comment: Games were the death of programming (Score 4, Interesting) 110

by GreatDrok (#48544553) Attached to: Spectrum Vega: A Blast From the Past

While early computers had very limited graphics and usually no sound, the arrival of colour and sound (er beeps) resulted in a large number of games and kids at the time clamoured to get a spectrum, C64 or whatever because it was a games machine and nothing else to them. Sure, you could program them but very few did. I started on a Commodore Pet (horrible BASIC) and went through the Sinclairs, the BBC Micro and then onto UNIX machines skipping PCs entirely (at least until Linux came along) and what I appreciated about all these was the ability to program them (same goes for Linux) but I was a minority.

The sad thing is once you got to PCs and GUIs, programming was largely a thing of the past. My son just got interested in computers and asked me to teach him to program so I pulled my actual Spectrum out and gave it to him. Sadly, age hasn't been kind to the hardware so the modulator failed and wouldn't display a picture. I bypassed that and got composite video out but in the process the keyboard membrane cracked so I had to order a new replacement (yay for retro computer fans) and it works again. He's getting on well and hasn't really shown interest in games on it. I did load up Manic Miner for a laugh but it was awful. I forgot how precise you had to be.

I just wish this was a real Spectrum with a keyboard. As it stands, meh. Emulators are also hard work without the real keyboard.

Comment: Confession - I didn't like Interstellar (Score 3, Insightful) 289

by GreatDrok (#48492213) Attached to: Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

I can't be alone in not liking this film. It wasn't the science (there was obviously a lot of work done there) that bothered me, and besides which with Sci Fi you always get a 'gimme' or two (warp drive, transporters, technobabble etc) but I really didn't feel anything with the story. It didn't draw me in, it just dragged. This wasn't what I was expecting as I had been looking forward to this film since I saw the first teaser. I see so many people going on about who great this film was but I can't help but wonder what it was that I missed?

Comment: Re:4k is twice the resolution, not 4x (Score 1) 158

by GreatDrok (#48138529) Attached to: Netflix To Charge More For 4K Video

4K does not have 4x the resolution. I don't care what sounds sexier, there's truth in advertising and 4K is only twice as sharp. You want 4x sharper, you need 8K and don't worry, once you've spent a good chunk of cash on the 4K set, they'll be there telling you it is obsolete and you need to upgrade again to 8K because, because, oh whatever, give us more money you peasant!

Comment: Re:A non-UNIX OS in a UNIX world? (Score 4, Interesting) 545

by GreatDrok (#47924339) Attached to: What To Expect With Windows 9

"MS says they have 75% market share for x86 servers (I've no idea if that is a legit statistic). Macs are barely a blip in desktop/laptop market share. Win 8 and Win 8.1, which according to comments in posts like this is the worst OS since Win ME, each has greater market share than all versions of Mac OS combined."

I can believe that MS has 75% market share for x86 servers simply because you can replace a whole host of Windows servers with a single Linux box - I know, I've done it multiple times. When it takes several machines to do what a single *nix box can do then sure, you're going to get high market share but that doesn't necessarily mean you're doing a good job. This is similar to their claims for IIS when it is just hosting parked domains.

MS has a bigger problem than that though because they're failing to break out of the jail of desktop in any serious way. Xbox cost a fortune and while the 360 did OK, the One is struggling badly compared with the PS4. The Windows phones are a joke, as are their tablets. The desktop may not be going anywhere soon but people have so widely embraced other technologies like Android and iOS that the desktop has little leverage any more. They simply can't use it to control the world and stop people leaving. Windows 8 was their attempt and it is an abject failure. 9 may be a decent version of Windows but really they've got no growth left in them. MS needs to get away from the idea of owning the platform and focus on developing software because they don't have the leverage to succeed the way they did back in the 90's and 00's. The sad fact is, the software they make which isn't supported by their OS isn't really all that good. Can they write good software without the tie in to the OS? I don't know but the signs aren't good.

The funny thing is I remember reading back in '97 that the whole world would ditch UNIX and switch to NT over the following few years. Without Linux, maybe that would have happened but now the spawn of Linus has really spoiled their day, especially Android despite their bogus patent claims. I agree with the other poster, if they had been broken up back in 2000 I suspect the world would have seen a lot more innovation and maybe Apple wouldn't have had the chance to grab the lion's share of the profit and overtake MS in the value stakes.

Comment: A non-UNIX OS in a UNIX world? (Score 5, Interesting) 545

by GreatDrok (#47923435) Attached to: What To Expect With Windows 9

I find it funny that MS is now the only major OS vendor that isn't running on a UNIX base. Seems like an uphill struggle as the world passes them by. They should do an Apple and virtualise the old Windows code in a classic environment and switch to a UNIX base. Or just stop trying to make operating systems altogether and focus on software.

Comment: Quickflix sucks (Score 4, Interesting) 172

by GreatDrok (#47921089) Attached to: Quickflix Wants Netflix To Drop Australian VPN Users

There are a few similar services starting up down here. I had a look at Quickflix because they have a client for my smartTV and TiVo but all they have to offer are old BBC shows which I already own on DVD and their movie selection is woeful even compared with what we can get on AppleTV. Worse, the compression is too high so what they do have looks terrible. If they had the vast array of stuff that Netflix has then they might have a chance but without it they're going nowhere. I don't subscribe to Netflix as I've taken the approach of buying or renting what I want to see but if it was legitimately offered here I would be interested.

Comment: Oh noes, I haz been hacked! (Score 0) 610

Seriously, not only are they whining about being 'hacked', even when they find out what really happened and that they got an album for free they're still not happy and are still indignant. It is pathetic. I made a point of giving the album a listen and you know what? I like it. I was pleased to get it and I've played it a few times. The media are fanning the flames for all they're worth too. Definitely time to go back to dumb phones for dumb users.

Comment: Re:Those who can't... (Score 1) 179

by GreatDrok (#47723399) Attached to: Professor Steve Ballmer Will Teach At Two Universities This Year

"It's been said many times - Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

I prefer "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach, and those who can't teach, manage"

In Ballmer's case he seems to be going around in circles, rather like Microsoft who can't choose a direction and stick with it.

Comment: Re:Well, I wouldn't be surprised if that worked (Score 2) 426

"I mean it worked for Windows Vista. (I'll always wonder if they didn't have to rename it would we have gotten what became Windows 7 as a service pack.)"

Indeed, I have Windows 7 64 bit home premium on my home PC and a spare copy of Vista 64 bit Ultimate on my MacBook Pro in VMWare so I use both relatively regularly. The main visible difference is the change to the task bar and honestly, I prefer the Vista version to what they did with Windows 7. Other than that, modern hardware zips along running Vista just fine and if it wasn't for the fact that I can see the different task bar I would be hard pressed to tell the difference in actual use.

Mind you, run 7 for any length of time and it soon starts to decay with the classic MS bit-rot and it still suffers from frequent reboots whenever it updates because it can't replace files that are being used. There's really very little different about 7 other than dropping the Vista name and little that couldn't have simply been a service pack because Vista today doesn't bog down anything like as much as it did when it first came out. Vista and 7 are still way more bloated than XP and that was a fat pig compared with 2K (my personal favourite Windows, gone too soon)

Comment: Re:Who has the market share? (Score 5, Informative) 336

by GreatDrok (#47592669) Attached to: Windows XP Falls Below 25% Market Share, Windows 8 Drops Slightly

"Mac remains the desktop fashion accessory for those who care about style over function"

This is a very myopic view of the Mac. In some fields, particularly scientific fields, Macs are a better solution than Linux and have gained considerable support. It isn't because it is a fashion accessory, it is because it is a fully fledged UNIX with all the same open source tools as Linux, plus a bunch of commercial software that Linux lacks, all on hardware that is well specified, long lasting and well designed. I've had my share of PC hardware cobbled together to get Linux on my desktop but in the end a Mac is more cost effective and a better solution. Our site's Linux fanboy admin even bought a MacBook Air for his own use and now won't spec anything non-Apple for our users regardless of the OS they choose because we've had such bad experience of poorly made PCs.

Comment: Why all the anti-electric rhetoric? (Score 2) 120

I've been reading through the comments and there seems to be so much vitriol aimed at electric vehicles. Sure, this isn't a practical car, but electric vehicles in general can be very practical. We have a petrol powered car at the moment but when it eventually dies (which won't be for some time given how reliable it is, go Mazda!) I would seriously consider an all electric simply because we rarely if ever do trips in our car that are longer than the range of the Nissan Leaf for instance. One tank of fuel lasts us about three weeks so we're averaging around 100 miles a week. We have a garage so we can keep an electric topped up (from roof mounted solar panels) and for the once or twice a year where we need the range of a petrol car I have no issue with nipping over to the nearest car rental place and grabbing whatever I fancy for the trip. The cost savings of switching to an electric will be substantial and we would never have to waste five minutes filling the car up every few weeks so that's a plus.

It only makes sense to make the switch when we're shopping for a new car but electrics have become easily practical for an every day car when you live in a city and the cost is dropping down to the affordable range. If we were in the country then I would more likely look to a hybrid but for our needs, lugging around a petrol motor just for the rare times we would have to travel more than 100 miles round trip makes no sense.

If none of the above applies to you and you tow your boat everywhere just in case, and you won't even start your vehicle unless you intend to do an 800 mile round trip, well then, buy a huge 4x4 and be happy with your choice.

Memory fault -- brain fried