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Comment: Discrete? Yes. Creative? Not so much. (Score 1) 261

Now admittedly, I'm a bit bitter about a problem that's not really Creative's fault. I bought an Audigy 2 ZS for my laptop using PC Card...and then the next wave of laptops only came with an Expresscard slot. So, I ponied up again for an X-Fi card that fit the Expresscard slot...and then laptops stopped coming with those. Now I fully admit that Creative isn't to blame for that, but it is sad just the same. However, I digress.

I use my onboard audio for nearly all of my listening needs. My internal speakers are utter crap (I think one is blown, actually), and thus, even if Creative added all the super-duper offboard processing in the world, it wouldn't sound any better than what those speakers can pump. Adding a nice set of Sennheiser or Denon headphones, I can start to hear some of the MP3 sizzle in the 128kbps MP3s, and a handful of 192's, depending on the song and the encoder and settings used. Even playing video games, the difference between 'Good Enough' and 'X-Fi Good' never comes into play, because it's the nuts-and-bolts of the big picture that will make or break it in either direction - if the sound effects and musical score is good, the miniscule difference an audio chipset will make has nothing to do with it. If they're crap, a ZxR processor isn't going to change anything.

That being said, I still use offboard audio hardware on a regular basis. I use my Rane SL3 to DJ with Serato. Even if it wasn't a de facto hardware dongle to unlock the Serato software, there's no motherboard chipset that supports 2ms latency from end-to-end of the audio path. In other words, my SL3 can reliably take an audio signal from my turntable, translate it into speed and directional data, and send MP3 audio back out, in 2ms. Creative doesn't make hardware like that. The story is pretty similar for my Audio6 (which I use for Traktor) and my Connectiv (which I used to use for Torq and Deckadance, though it required closer to 5ms latency to be stable). I have a MobilePre USB that I use occasionally for XLR and 1/4" recording. These are niche products for niche purposes, but the fact that your local Guitar Center sells a range of these kinds of interfaces demonstrates that there's indeed a market for discrete audio hardware. Creative just doesn't make it.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile, in DSL-land (Score 1) 146

by Voyager529 (#47417639) Attached to: Alcatel-Lucent's XG-FAST Pushes 10,000Mbps Over Copper Phone Lines

Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. No seriously, I'm with you on the 3mbps/sec DSL situation and am wondering what software/hardware you use for this. I see this as being quite handy on Patch Tuesday and similar. I have half-ideas as to how to make it work, but I'm interested to hear about your tried-and-true setup.

Comment: Re:And, probaly, nothing of value was lost. (Score 3) 174

I for one had never even heard of these products, and I don't think I've ever encountered a web site using it. All I see is Google Maps when sites need to do something with mapping.

Well, duh. MapPoint and S&T was a plastic-disc software title, intended for end users to do stuff without an internet connection. See kids, in the days between the joys of attempting to re-fold a paper map and always-on, always-connected internet streamed maps, companies got all the street information together and sold a software release in a perpetual licensing format. People could then take their laptops and a serial (later USB and/or Bluetooth) GPS add-on and navigate with a laptop, without worrying about data plans, cellular outages, or getting stuck on a necessary phone call that brought into question one's allegiance to accurate navigation.

In the case of MapPoint, routes and distances were mass queried and used in tandem with Access and Excel to make geographical and topological data useful in a business context.

Websites are going to use Google maps (or yahoo/mapquest/bing, to a much lesser extent) because their APIs allow embedded maps nice and easily. For folks who need offline information, Google Maps was never intended to fill that space. Now, it seems, Delorme is the sole holdout for plastic disc mapping software.

Comment: Re:Dang. What's next, Encarta? (Score 1) 174

Annoyingly, it's not just Encarta. It's seemingly any offline reference title. Grolier's is paywalled to oblivion, Britannica gives the first two paragraphs, Simon & Schuster haven't sold a reference app in years, and Wikipedia is, well, Wikipedia.

Now yes, the internet is how we get data around fastest, and even CDs were a de facto subscription since you'd buy a copy every year or two to stay current. I get that. Where plastic disc media had some usefulness to it was that, for K-12 schooling, it was easier to cite them as one would cite a traditional printed volume. Additionally, even if not the most bleeding edge information, most information contained therein would remain relatively consistent from year to year (especially ones on historical matters; technological matters, less so for obvious reasons). It also provided a baseline with which to compare other sources. If Encarta and Wikipedia disagreed, it'd pose the question of 'why'. Was there some sort of major breakthrough that allows Wikipedia to show its strengths as being an up-to-the-minute, crowdsourced reference, or is the Wikipedia article amidst an edit war? At least with Encarta, there's some semblance of "information freeze" where it's accurate to the point where the disc was pressed, and can be relied upon as such.

Sending reference works "to the cloud" makes sense, until companies paywall the whole thing, you don't know what you're really getting when you fork over your Mastercard, and it causes people like me to wax nostalgic for the plastic disc for well-written, relatively unbiased descriptions of WWII battles.

Comment: Re:Java (Score 1) 532

But in terms of long lived, go with Java. It has no buzz or the glory the pretty new things have and thats why its still in wide use in the enterprise.

I'm more of the persuasion that the reason why Java is still in widespread use in the enterprise is because it predates most other solutions and no one wants to pay between five and nine figures to replace the existing system.

Java is getting particularly annoying in that they're try to make the runtime environment more secure...and in doing so, have a tendency to break things to the point where it's a requirement to undo all the new security defaults in order to make the Java stuff actually load. Oracle has indicated that it will soon remove the ability to allow things to run by clicking 'yes/allow/run' to half a dozen warning error messages, which means that the amount of time and effort to make the JRE security requirements happy may eclipse the time saved in using it in the first place. Java is also a nonstarter on mobile devices. Finally, I've had major issues reminiscent of IE6 hell - $SOME_APPLET is only compatible with a particular version of the JRE and it's impossible to upgrade without breaking it, so people are stuck on that particular variant of Java.

Disclaimer: I haven't written a line of code since college. I have, however, had to support Java applets and, without exception, they cause these kinds of problems. I don't care if you use PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, or .NET...just please...PLEASE spare the support staff the hell of dealing with end user Java sites.

Comment: Re:dismal state of batteries (Score 1) 119

by Voyager529 (#47351767) Attached to: Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

If you have a compatible phone (predominantly Samsung, though a handful of LG units are also in the mix), this solves the problem. It does keep your phone from being anorexically thin, but I personally don't mind the extra heft. I generally get between 2 and 3 days out of a charge. This past weekend it lasted an entire ten hour drive as a GPS Nav courtesy of Waze (meaning GPS receiver and screen on the entire time, both notorious power suckers), through areas with spotty cell reception. They support NFC and come with a case.

I'm not affiliated with them in any way besides being a super happy customer. It single handedly determined whether I was going to replace my recently-broken HTC One with a One M8 or a Note 3. It was a no-brainer.

Comment: Is there a 'less nerdy version'? (Score 2) 347

by Voyager529 (#47310261) Attached to: Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

Genuine question - this seems like an interesting thing, but as someone whose expertise in physics is incredibly limited, is there anyone who would be willing to provide an "explain it like I'm five" version for an individual like myself who is interested in understanding the speed differences observed in the particles?

Thanks, internet!

Comment: This is almost a good summary. (Score 1) 365

by Static (#47304563) Attached to: Microsoft Wants You To Trade Your MacBook Air In For a Surface Pro 3

I had to change from a Linux desktop to a MacBookPro for work. It really only confirmed why I had never been interested in buying one for myself.

There are UI features in OS X which are clearly "Apple has always done things this way and we don't understand how you could want things different". The Unix-underneath is pretty good, but the BSD-ish toolchain is annoyingly out-of-date. The hardware support is (of course) excellent, but the keyboard is sadly a triumph of form over function - I use an external keyboard whenever I can.

I still wish I had my Linux desktop back.

Comment: I am a former federal contractor (Score 2) 372

Each email system had a triplicate of backups done so they would not lose emails. They used Microsoft Exchange Server and digital tape backups. They used Outlook and backed up PST files to network drives.

If they lost her emails with a system like that it was no accident.

Comment: Re: Fsck x86 (Score 1) 230

by Orion Blastar (#47209295) Attached to: Intel Confronts a Big Mobile Challenge: Native Compatibility

See if ARM based PCs sell and scale better than x86 based PCs.

Can't run Windows on an ARM PC but maybe Linux or Haiku or AROS or something. Raspberry PI isn't a PC because it is in kit form. Make it a $100 or $200 brick PC and then see how well it sells. Make it on an ATX motherboard and then sell ARM based ATX PCs.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire