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Comment: Shielding... (Score 1) 329

by PhotoGuy (#29460813) Attached to: Student Designs Cardboard Computer Case

I designed and built a case out of a small storage tote, since I wanted a smaller case than standard.

It fit nicely, cooled well, and ran nicely. It looked pretty cool, too, translucent.

But Lordy, don't underestimate the value of shielding/grounding that your metal case gives you. That sucker threw off so much RF interference it was insane. And I got video/sound interference on the display/speakers for the PC, quite serious. And I had occasional lockups.

Tossing the same gear into a metal case, and everything was fine.

If this cardboard case works, it must have some tinfoil or something in it to shield/ground things, or it'll be a dud.

Comment: Re:Let me get this straight (Score 1) 438

by PhotoGuy (#29456079) Attached to: (Near) Constant Internet While RV'ing?

If it is for business, then you can probably live with the latency of satellite. I lived with DirecWay for three years, and survived just fine. It worked very well for me; despite usage caps and limited upload speed, it was a good solution, far better than anything else that was out there.

The standard hardware isn't that expensive; auto-pointing RV-top units are indeed thousands. If you don't mind some manual labour, it is possible to set up and point the cheap default hardware on a tripod (weighted with sandbags, etc.), or on a mount on your RV (taking it off when moving).

Technically you're not supposed to be pointing these things unless you're a qualified tech, but I've done it many a time, and it's not that hard once you learn how. (The thing isn't going to transmit until it's locked on the proper receiving carrier, so you're not going to be taking out other satellites by mistake; you'll just not get a usable system if you fail to point it well.)

So if you're willing to pack up/deploy the dish every time your RV moves and you want internet at your new location, it is a relatively cheap and effective means for accomplishing this. If you were staying at places a week at a time, it might be a good route for you. If you're moving daily, it might be too much work.

Depending upon your intended routes, 3G with a nationwide carrier is a good option, too; I like the total independence that satellite gives you, though.

Despite living in a modest cottage, when Hurricane Juan hit, I was living pretty good with my generator, satellite internet, propane-heated water :) People came to my place to use the Internet and get a shower.

Comment: Re:Wait, so my depression is good? (Score 1) 512

by PhotoGuy (#29247095) Attached to: Depression May Provide Cognitive Advantages

On the topic of Brel, a lot of his songs deal with such themes since he has always been on the verge of depression.

We francophones consider him one of the two or three major writers of the 20th century. A few of his songs have been adapted to English with varying success.

One of the saddest songs I remember growing up, was based upon one of his: Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks (and later redone again by Westlife). And Terry livened the tune up a lot from the original :) Beautiful song, but depressing.

Comment: Re:Bodies Exhibit, anyone? (Score 1) 309

by PhotoGuy (#29217781) Attached to: China Admits Use of Death-Row Organs

Ive been to the exhibition and the flatly deny the bodies are from prisoners

Really? From wiki (which has a citation in the article):

Under the settlement agreement with New York City, Premier Exhibitions agreed to post disclaimers stating that they could not independently rule out the possibility that remains of Chinese prisoners were used in the production of the displays.

Shudder.

Comment: Re:Who will control the iPhone? (Score 1) 213

by PhotoGuy (#29180335) Attached to: Apple vs. Google, Who Will Control the iPhone?

Actually yes. MythTV kicks the utter crap out of any other PVR ever made.

I love MythTV, used it for years. After some frustration (yet another update, yet another two nights messing around to get my IR remote working again, arrrrgh), I tried out SageTV. I have no association with the company; I think it's mostly a one-developer shop. But they make an awesome product. Less than $100 for the server and client licenses, and I had a system that streamed to multiple windows/mac/linux computers seamlessly (I could never get Sage to stream to more than one networked computer, and even that was painful). (And I picked up a couple of dedicated Sage hardware boxes, that work beautifully, loading their GUI off the server. Very slick.)

Not knocking Myth, and I bet it will overtake all others some day; but to say it's the best and kicks everyone's butt, isn't consistent with my experiences. If you like the indy-ish PVR approach, but want something easier and more polished than Myth (and more cross-platform, ironically), do check out Sage.

Comment: Re:How long can they fight it (Score 1) 348

by PhotoGuy (#29180239) Attached to: Swedish Authorities Attempt Pirate Bay Shutdown

Yeah because all the users of the site would totally stick around if they were no longer getting all the content for free. *rolls eyes* Why must everyone make up bullshit excuses instead of just admitting that they were downloading stuff because they wanted to get it for free? No one is falling for these bullshit excuses anyway.

While I find it hard to disagree with you, I think it can be put a bit differently... The reason people are so drawn to illegal/free downloads, is that the price point for this media is unrealistically high. $70 for games, $10-$20-$30 for movies. Notice that when you put iPhone apps and singles up for 99c, you suddenly start developing a new multi-million dollar markets.

(Especially since "albums" with a dozen solid songs seem to be a thing of decades past. But that's another story, sigh. There's a rare exception, such as Tom Fun, but in general, I don't see anyone producing solid solid, cohesive, albums these days.)

I would say the motivation for piracy is largely driven by perceived differences between supply and demand pricing. There is a big segment of the market where the current prices don't meet their requirements; and there's a venue where they can get it for a price closer to their threshold ($0 is lot closer to $1, than $70 is to $1), so they figure out how to pirate it, and do so.

Ideology (information wants to be free, yadda yadda yadda!) is a nice excuse, and icing on the cake, but I don't think is a major motivation for most pirates. It's just a bit of self-righteous rationalization after the fact.

I think there will be a big equalization of prices over the next five-ten years, which will make things more sane. I don't mind paying $30/mo. or $50/mo. *total (or even more) for lots of high quality entertainment.

But $40 for cable, $40 for internet, $20+ for movies, $70 for games, etc., etc., is more than I choose to pay. Let people take a slice of my income, and they'll get $30-$50/mo. out of me for entertainment, no problem, instead of the $0 they're getting right now.

People will tend to pay their $40-ish for Internet, and effectively use *that* fee to enable their ability to grab their other entertainment.

Comment: Re:Not the best choice of languages (Score 1) 419

by PhotoGuy (#29125667) Attached to: Behind Menuet, an OS Written Entirely In Assembly

Actually, to follow up on my own post, I wouldn't say that compilers got as good as human-written assemblers "ten years ago"; it's more like "15 - 20 years ago," IMO. (And even in the 70's, compilers were good enough that the Unix operating system could be written mostly in C, with a few thousands lines of assembler for optimization.)

Comment: Re:Not the best choice of languages (Score 1) 419

by PhotoGuy (#29125653) Attached to: Behind Menuet, an OS Written Entirely In Assembly

Go look at the assembler that some of these compilers produce. It's frightening to see the amount of overhead they cost on even simple assignment operations. I saw one compiler (Microsoft's Visual C++) that took a simple x=10; in C++ and turned it into 15 assembly language operations that, had it been coded by hand, would have been one MOV statement.

Spoken like someone who hasn't used a modern compiler.

This statement might have been true ten years ago (or maybe still true with MSC). But in general, with a good modern compiler, it isn't.

In the Z-80 days, I did everything assembly (actually, in raw machine code, compiling in my head, effectively). I learned C in the 8088 days, but did a lot of optimization, putting my CPU intensive stuff in assembler functions. And so forth on the VAX, and into the 386 days, doing graphics work, 3D stuff, games, and such.

Then the Watcom compiler came along, and started pushing what compilers could truly achieve.

It reached a point where, looking at the generated code, I realized that in general, the compiler was doing as good, or very nearly as good a job as I could do. In some cases, with loop unrolling and other "non-local" optimizations, it was doing better. At this bore out in actual performance timing tests. And the other compilers caught up to Watcom, and they all continued to get better and better; my hand-written optimized code had already reached its limit, that the compilers approached.

Granted, there will always be some case where a bit of assembler can optimize things; but with the speed of CPU's, and the quality of modern compilers, the case where it's worth the effort is *exceedingly* rare.

I doubt you could show an example today with the latest GCC, where an assignment resulted in a dozen instructions.

Simple example:

                i = 0;
                for (j = 0; j < 10; j++)
                                  i += j;

ran through "gcc -O -S", gives:

                movl $0, %eax
                movl $0, %edx
L2:
                addl %edx, %eax
                incl %edx
                cmpl $10, %edx
                jne L2

Hard to beat that (other than figuring out the algorithm and reducing to a constant, which some of the super-advanced compilers probably do :)

And with limited register sets, compilers can be better than humans, at figuring which variables are best stashed in memory or on the stack, and which are best cached in registers.

Comment: Re:Let us use a damn mouse and keyboard (Score 1) 330

by PhotoGuy (#29113779) Attached to: The Problems With Porting Games

The console makers keep a pretty tight reign on game development guidelines; you play by their rules, follow their guidelines, adhere to the licensing terms they set, and then you can have your game digitally signed and sold. If you don't have their approval and they don't sign the disc, your game won't run on the console (unless it's hacked).

Given the fact that a USB keyboard/mouse combo can be had for $10-$20, from any vendor, and a console remote can cost you a good chunk of $100, to the console maker, it's pretty easy to see why more games don't allow keyboard/mouse.

On the other hand, most games that would benefit from keyboard/mouse, are single-player FPS type games; single a single controller comes with each console, allowing keyboard/mouse isn't really that big of a threat.

I'm only familiar with the WII; three extra remotes plus nunchuks cost more than the console. And now WII Motion Plus is going to be used by more and more games, there's another $100. I still like the system, and the features/quality of the controls do seem to justify things to a degree, but I still feel *slightly* gouged. (Third party controllers are available, and really aren't that much cheaper, which kinda indicates that maybe the tech involved in the remotes is a bit pricey to start with.)

Comment: Re:Keeping your information private on Facebook... (Score 1) 140

by PhotoGuy (#29095753) Attached to: Facebook Faces the Canadian Privacy Commissioner

I think the average person grossly overestimates the value of this data. In short, unless you're a celebrity, or stalked by an ex, or something, *NOBODY CARES* about this data. (Other than friends, viewing it for its intended purposes, of course.)

And if you're a celebrity, or being stalked, odds are you take some extra privacy measures in your every day life (don't leave blinds up, etc.), so maybe you should take similar measures online (don't publish friends lists to the world).

Facebook does have some privacy holes, but in general you can keep your profile details pretty hush-hush, except to those you choose.

It amazes me how many people are so paranoid. I see almost everyone I know enjoying Facebook, and I've never heard of a single identity theft or other ill effect of it.

The apps is do find annoying (some third party company, not vetted at all, getting all your details when you accept a cheesy gift, etc..); and that's part of the Canadian govt's investigation. Again, I simply don't accept apps.

(Personally, I'm kinda bored with Facebook, only check in occasionally, and find it rather "meh"; but I'm the type with a fairly small and close group of friends to start with, so maybe that's why.)

Comment: Canadian Fiasco (Score 1) 629

by PhotoGuy (#28929703) Attached to: RadioShack To Rebrand As "The Shack"?

There's quite a mess with the RS name in Canada. RS Canada was operated by InterTAN, who sold it to Circuit City. Then Radio Shack sued InterTAN for breach of contract, and the Radio Shack name could no longer be used, so they rebranded it "The Source by Circuit City." And now, Radio Shack is apparently going to come into Canada opening stores under that name. Bizarre and annoying.

Sadly, before this silliness, Radio Shack (Canada, at least) had already declined from a cool store with a wide variety of electronics and parts, into a TV/Remote Control Vehicle shop, with a few gadgets and toys, and just a shadow of its former self.

Maybe the new Radio Shack can restore some of its former appeal. I'm not holding my breath.

We're hurting for electronics retailers in Canada, at least of the geeky kind. There's no major chain where you can pop in and buy a motherboard, for example (and I've had iffy success with small-time local dealers). Sigh.

I've visited a Fry's in the US before, and despite it having the same lack of appeal of most big box retailers, it did have things like motherboards and components; good selection, good price, so you hold your nose and buy :)

Comment: From a trying-to-stay-a-fanboy... (Score 1) 495

by PhotoGuy (#28877565) Attached to: Apple Says iPhone Jailbreaking Could Hurt Cell Towers

Sorry, but after this "Google Voice is simply duplicate functionality", Apple has lost pretty much all legitimacy in anything they say. Everything they say lately, one has to think "why are they really doing this," and there is always an obvious alternative answer.

Sigh, I really want to like them, I really do.

But my hopes are fading.

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada

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