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Comment swap drives (Score 2) 78

I worked on an airplane-based system, and we had removable hard drives which we swapped any time we had to update the software. This way, each upgrade also restored the system to a pristine condition.

I've also done this with CD-ROMs. One nice thing about booting and running from a CD-ROM is that it's impossible for it to be "hacked" (short of creating a new version and sneaking it in to the physical machine).

Comment Re:Mechanical Keyboard (Score 1) 307

I loved my old Model-M keyboard, but IBM made one that I liked even better. It was the keyboard for a block-mode terminal for an old System/34 system I used in school. The keyboard was essentially the same one used on the Selectric typewriter, and with the power off, it felt terrible. However, with the power on, a solenoid in the keyboard case would bang the case with each keystroke, simulating the effect of the typing ball in the Selectric.

Having the physical feedback (*BANG*) made the keyboard a delight to use. Of course, it was even noisier than the Model-M (which is the chief complaint of those sitting near a happy Model-M user).

Comment Re:Won't happen (Score 1) 727

Tried the VM approach with a materials stress testing machine. Didn't work out too well. It's software that can only run on XP with an RS232 port to access test results. To say this specific vertical hardware/software solution is expensive would be an understatement.

I'm not sure why this would be a problem. I helped move a SCO Unix-based legacy system to Windows, while running the legacy system in a VMware virtual machine. One of the major reasons to do this was because VMware allowed us to make USB- and Network-based peripherals look like legacy parallel and serial ports. The last I heard, the system was being used in over 14,000 locations.

BTW, did you know you can map parallel and serial ports in a VMware virtual machine to named pipes?

Comment Re:Tiny hard disk, limited RAM (Score 1) 513

Most users doing most end user stuff prefer using iPads instead. Who is the target audience for Ultrabooks?

That would be people who actually create content and who want to be able to conveniently use their work machine wherever they are (including places like airplanes).

FWIW, I have a 2011 Macbook Air, and the 4GB of Ram and 256MB of SSD are sufficient for me to run everything I want, including Win7 in a VM. My last machine was a 2009 Macbook Pro, and that had twice the RAM and disk space, but I found I didn't really need the extra storage, and the combination of faster CPU and much faster "disk" makes the new, lower-spec Air run (or at least seem to run) faster and better than my old laptop.

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