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Comment: Re:Yeah, probably a VGA screen (Score 4, Informative) 173

by jandrese (#46773399) Attached to: Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago
Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, I saw Tablet Computer prototypes come up every couple of years. Sometimes they would even make it to market, where they hit with a resounding thud thanks to their horrible clunky OS choices, lack of applications, and hardware limitations. Apple tinkered with the iPad for years before finally releasing it, waiting until the infrastructure grew up to make the device practical. They actually worked on the iPad before the iPhone.

Technologies that had to mature before the tablet computers became practical:
  • Wifi networking.
  • Capacitive Touchscreens -- Most early designs used a stylus, which sucks, and had poor resolution to boot
  • Low power but still acceptably fast processors -- A huge sticking point, lots of early tablets had extremely poor battery life on top of being slow
  • A touch enabled OS -- WinCE is terrible to use with a finger, and really pretty bad with a stylus. Symbian was never great. PalmOS was too narrowly focused on Palm pilots
  • Battery capacity -- Battery technology has come a long way in the past 15 years. Early attempts would use NiCad batteries, which just aren't good enough, especially with the relatively high energy consumption figures from the old chips.

Apple didn't have a smash hit with the iPad because they were the first to the market. They won because they tinkered and waited until the technology was ready, then came out with a solid finished well integrated product instead of some halfassed "laptop without a keyboard running a cut down version of Windows".

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Fifteen

Journal by mcgrew

I started the long walk back to the pilot room wishing again for a bicycle or something.
A robot wheeled past. Hell, I should just flag down a robot. But, of course there was a reason for not having transportation; I remembered the climb up the boat when the whores locked me out and how tiring it was. A body needs exercise and the most I was going to get on a boat with two-thirds gravity was walking.

Comment: Re:de Raadt (Score 1) 279

by PhrostyMcByte (#46759751) Attached to: OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

If Theo had a more constructive outlook, this would go a lot different and we'd all benefit.

Instead of screaming vitriol at someone's app architecture inadvertently defeating his platform-specific feature, he should be asking why they felt the need to go with that architecture (hint: it was a perfectly reasonable need), and perhaps if he can do something to make integrating his security feature easier for that type of architecture.

Like you say, freelists are an extremely common design choice when performance is critical. This security feature could be hugely beneficial to many apps that use them (like, say, Apache HTTPd). Instead you've got the too-common case of an unbending programmer mad at someone for having needs other than his own.

Comment: Right on. (Score 4, Interesting) 279

by PhrostyMcByte (#46759259) Attached to: OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

Otherwise known as "the only sane way to simulate exceptions in C". Seriously. Read up on how "goto" is used in low-level code bases such as OS kernels, instead of citing some vague memory of a 1960s paper without understanding its criticisms.

People who don't use goto for error handling in C more often than not either have incorrect error handling or way too much error-prone duplication of resource cleanup code. It makes sense to very strictly warn newbies away from goto, much in the same sense that you warn them from multithreading. You don't want them used as a universal hammer for every nail in the code. At some point though, people need to jump off the bandwagon and learn to respect, not fear, these things that actually have some very compelling uses.

Comment: 8.1.1. update 1.. or something like that... (Score 1) 564

by leuk_he (#46755251) Attached to: Microsoft Confirms It Is Dropping Windows 8.1 Support

So instead of nameing version after a year (2000, 2003, 2008.....), they finally lost track of good version number. Some users barely are aware they are running an OS. And now it has gone so bad that even /. editors fail to keep track of version numbers of the most used OS in the world.

Comment: Re:old tech (Score 5, Insightful) 159

by jandrese (#46750913) Attached to: Reviving a Commodore 64 Computer Using a Raspberry Pi
It's the first computer many people had access to, and especially the first computer they could actually program themselves. In an era where PCs cost thousands of dollars, a C64 cost only a couple hundred. Parents could afford them and the default shell was a BASIC prompt. Plus, it had built-in hardware to support making games (sound chip, sprite generator, joystick port) which made interesting to the kids first learning how to program on it.

Comment: Re:This could be cool (Score 2) 159

by jandrese (#46750837) Attached to: Reviving a Commodore 64 Computer Using a Raspberry Pi
If you love them, get them all backed up on to a HDD ASAP, and make sure your HDD is backed up regularly as well. You can fit an insane number of C64 floppies on a modern HDD, so keeping the images around won't take much space at all. The only way to really preserve data long term is to maintain it by bringing it with you as you upgrade.
User Journal

Journal: The third time wasn't a charm.

Journal by mcgrew

I've hardly logged on to the internet at all this past week, too busy correcting a mistake software houses frequently do: Trying to rush a project out the door. The fact is, I'm tired of The Paxil Diaries, but I don't want to ship a flawed piece of crap.

Comment: Re:That isn't what a CSci degree is for (Score 2) 284

by PhrostyMcByte (#46747623) Attached to: Bachelor's Degree: An Unnecessary Path To a Tech Job

Unless a programmer is working for a very large company, there's a good chance they're in pretty direct contact with their users.

Throwing someone into contact with users doesn't help someone become good at UX. Just look at the multitude of Open Source projects -- most of them interact directly with users and still end up with pretty atrocious UX that is designed based on the programmer's workflow and how easy it is to implement.

You did something wrong. You need to do step A, B, C, and you skipped over B!

Every time I hear this from a developer, I cringe. Good UX is a choice. You can train in it, but until you really alter your mindset towards user interaction and embrace it, your projects will suffer. It's so easy, too:

A user is having difficulty performing X. Is there something I can change to ensure they land on an optimal path next time?

One good suit is worth a thousand resumes.