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Comment Re:Amber: Journeys Beyond (Score 2) 106

Yeah, you were basically required to have QEMM and a boot disk if you wanted to run those games. IIRC, they required 602kB of the 640kB of memory. That's not a small feat when you consider that DOS kernel, is in there, as well as HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE. With QEMM, you could shim some of the programs into the no mans land between 640kB and 1 MB, leaving more low memory available for playing games. Some games, most notably Ultima 7, had their own memory manager technology (VooDoo Memory Manager, IIRC), that were completely incompatible with QEMM. Ultima 7 would run under DOS 3.3, 4, and 6. But not 5, as sucked up too much low memory. By the DOS 6 days, MS had figured out QEMM was doing, and incorporated bits of it into DOS. I wonder if that was because of DesqView, Quarterdeck's multi-tasking offering.

Comment Re:System Shock 2? (Score 1, Offtopic) 106

Nope, it was serious. As I recall, the W-A-S-D and mouse thing started with Quake. Back in those days, gamers used the keyboard exclusively, so you used used your left hand for pulling the trigger (ctrl or alt) and activate (spacebar) and your right hand for navigation, either using the arrows or the numberpad. Left and right actually turned you left and right, respectively. To strafe, you had to hold shift down, then the arrow.

As for the page up / page down business for aiming up and down - it was pretty innovative and useful, especially in those tall shafts in common usage throughout the empire. It is even more impressive if you consider that Doom ('93) and Doom 2 ('94) didn't have any aiming mechanism at all. You just pointed your gun in the general direction, and if the monster was in the line of fire (and on screen), the bullets would jump up and get him. When Quake came out in '96, it standardized the W-A-S-D keys with mouselook (and mouse aiming). Unreal also used the same playstyle. I suspect that one of the iD folks came up with this as a playstyle, and everyone else there quickly adopted it, because the mouselook people were stompin' the crap out of the keyboarders.

Comment Re:As if Samsung will give a shit. (Score 1) 61

What prevents Samsung from doing the same? Perhaps they made deals with carriers not to provide you the updates directly? In which case, how is that anyone's fault but their own, and why would you want to make excuses for that customer-fucking behavior?

In a word: TouchWiz.
TouchWiz is the ROM atop the Android ROM on Samsung phones. It provides a customized UI, custom lock screens, customized dialer, contacts, alarms, settings, etc... That's why they require Dual core or better and loads of RAM. It must take a cubic butt-ton of effort to get that crud to run over the top of Android.

Personal experience: I had a dual core S3 (US variant), and IMHO, it was awful. It stuttered when unlocking, frequently dropped calls, apps wouldn't install or run. Phone updates were infuriatingly infrequent. I began to think that I made a huge mistake picking Android over Apple. I gave Android one last try with CyanogenMod. Phone became great. Apps would install and run reliably, no stutter on unlock, and reliable updates (depending if they are unified or hardware specific today). Only complaint I had was the Camera - kept crashing which would require a reboot for further camera access, although 3rd party camera apps made the camera crash less often. That's all fixed with Lollipop. Rumor mill has it that it will even run Marshmallow at some date in the future. There's at least one custom Marshmallow ROM floating around out there right now.

Comment Re:Unicode 8 support (Score 1) 57

Thanks for the link. I see that the other critical characters are Taco and Burrito. Slice of Pizza was lonely, maybe? That can't be it, because Hamburger also exists. There are even glyphs for chicken (a drumstick), ribs, and Ramen noodles - glyph says 'steaming bowl', but it's pretty obvious what that is hanging off of those chopsticks. Perhaps Mug of Beer was seeking variety? FYI, this site can give the glyph info and which fonts contain it, but it cannot actually render them yet.

And one wanted to type a Wind Blowing Face, now's the time. Maybe that one's not new. It seems that one is related to a bunch of weather related icons, like fog, cloud with lightning bolt, and cloud with tornado. They seem to be adding lots of these Emoji - I thought there was a Unicode code point shortage? Maybe that's just because UTF-8 because has to maintain backward compatibility with ASCII. From what I understand, in doing so, it wastes a few hundred other code pages.

Comment Steam List Handling (Score 1) 309

That's easy enough to handle. Make a category, "Finished", and stick your favorite game(s) there that you aren't currently playing. Make another category, "Crap", and stick that kind of stuff in there. When steam opens, categories can be collapsed by default. Et voila! No more games gumming up your screen.

Just like with Windows, there's multiple ways to skin that cat. For instance, you can, change your steam list to just INSTALLED. It is the menu marked GAMES immediately to the right of the Search box. FWIW, that's also how you transition from GAMES to SOFTWARE, in case you've bought any software from Steam. Anyway, changing that to INSTALLED should give you instant gratification. Err, unless you just install everything and leave it... In that case RECENT should do it for you. Hopefully.

Comment Re:Yeah, but... (Score 1) 191

Personally I'm voting for Yawning Yggdrasil. I doubt a distro that folded in 2000 would mind too much. It was pretty innovative for its time, though with intelligent autoconfiguration, and making those darn Plug-N-Pray (err, Plug-N-Play) hardware devices work. Even had a LiveCD in 95 - assuming you had hardware capable of understanding El Torito booting.

Oh, darn. Yggdrasil is from the Norse Mythology, Yggdrasil is a just a Tree of Life, and not an animal. I'm disappointed.

Comment Re:sub-6GHz frequency band (Score 1) 55

I've heard that 5G was to use both the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz unlicensed bands simultaneously, to the detriment of home routers. source

Extending LTE to unlicensed spectrum at 5GHz is an enticing prospect

Extending LTE-Advanced to unlicensed spectrum is a major feature of 3GPP Release 13, due to be frozen in March 2016. Previously this was referred to as LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U), but 3GPP uses the name LAA to reflect the role of licensed spectrum in its operation.

Comment Captain Tripps (Score 1) 132

Is anyone else thinking of the Captain Tripps virus from "The Stand"? Sounds just like it - get pneumonia, fever, contagious as all get out, then you die, drowning in your own snot after around 5 to 7 days. Maybe not exact, but close enough for me, anyway.

Now all we need is for the government to weaponize it, and history follows fiction.

Comment Re:So how bad it is really? (Score 2) 246

That is bad advice, that will not preserve his OEM preinstall key, and he won't be registered with the Windows 10 servers.
  1. Back up all of your important data. This is the most important step!
  2. Make a Windows 10 USB stick.
  3. Upgrade to Windows 10 from the USB stick. You must run the upgrade from within the OEM license Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 while connected to the Internet. If it asks for a CD-KEY, you've got an Enterprise or VL (Volume Licensed) version of Windows, and don't qualify for the free upgrade.
  4. Waste about 45 minutes while Windows 10 installs.
  5. Account Setup: Don't make a Microsoft account or convert a local account to a MS account, it's unnecessary. Skip or Later is the correct option.
  6. Customize Setup: Do this part Turn everything off. You have to scroll on one screen to get every slider
  7. Log in, verify on the System control panel that you are activated. MS now has a copy of your computer's fingerprint on record at Redmond.

Optional, but highly recommended for stability and cruft removal:

  1. Boot from the Windows 10 USB you just created. Select the OS version you just installed (95% of the time it is 64-bit)
  2. Wipe your Disk clean, and install Windows 10 again (You did back up earlier, didn't you?)
  3. Do steps 4 - 7 above, 'skip' or 'do it later' for any requests for a CD KEY (you are registered with MS from your upgrade)

Note that the Hardware key is primarily tied to your motherboard + video + network card; if you replace it, you'll be on the hook for Windows 10 if you're out of the 1 year period. Lifetime of the hardware seems to mean lifetime of the motherboard, or three to five hardware swapouts, whichever comes first.

That said, I've triggered the software licensing module when I upgraded the RAM and Video twice each in the same computer (and for a while used the onboard video, which probably counts as a swap as well), due to a bad RAM and a defective Video chip. In any case, my Windows 8.1 Media Center became useless because the Media Center key they'd given out was a time limited key. I worked around it by running my backup disc Windows 7 onto a blank hard drive and updating that to Windows 10 on the Internet, then updating the Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. I had to run the setupprep.exe from within the arch directory of the USB stick to manually force the setup to continue. When it saw Win 10, it activated immediately. Works great now, better that it has in a while.

Comment Fourth Generation Database Languages (Score 1) 429

SQL is similarly not obscure in its area, but worth learning and you rarely see it in a list of general programming languages (because it isn't). But the commercial vendors all ship their SQL with strong variants that extend the language and do more common language functions like looping. I speak of PL/SQL, TSQL, and their ilk, which all have a touch of obscurity in the same way R does.

You mentioned SQL and looping, but you missed out on the 4GL database variants: Aubit 4GL, IBM (Informix 4GL), Progress (OpenEdge Database), Aestiva Software (Aestiva Array). In some domains, 4GL is referred to as ABL. In the version I've used, they support a simple subset of SQL-89, and just enough SQL-92 to support JDBC/ODBC clients - although I've never seen it work. As for the differences, I hear that 4GL databases are record oriented, where SQL databases are set oriented. 4GL has features that SQL lacks, such as looping [FOR EACH table ...], accessing 2 (or more) records from a single table in one query [DEFINE BUFFER x FOR table], max of a field in a particular query [LAST], and conditional access of sub-queries table/buffers with IF AVAILABLE, accessing table children efficiently [EACH childtable OF table] each with independent WHERE syntax, and it is compiled. On the other hand, SQL is very good at aggregating/grouping, handling NULLs with COALESCE, queries not relying so heavily on indexes, and it is NOT compiled. If you want dynamic queries, with 4GL you'll have to build the file and compile it as it runs. One interesting thing about 4GL is their text fields can be overstuffed. Let's say you define your table, CHAR(30), and later you decide you need four more characters. No need to change anything - the extra data will be silently saved. It won't be displayed unless you override your DISPLAY statement, but the data will be there - up to 2k or 4k, implementation specific, as I recall.

Most languages have the ability to create simple character based applications that can be accessed by Wyse and VTstyle terminals. Some environments have the ability to make .NET and Java based graphical applications, also.

Overall though, it's a good idea to have a little 4GL under your belt. I've seen these languages being used in the newspaper industry, web publishing, gas stations, and even banks. I know I've gotten interviews based on just being proficient with 4GL / ABL database languages. It's not a bad thing to know a niche language.

Comment Re:Thinking about leaving any systemd linux behind (Score 1) 747

Gentoo seems like a good idea, until you realize it installs systemd by default. I suppose you can emerge open-rc, but who knows when that will stop being maintained? Even if they don't I'm willing to bet most of the Gentoo Handbook will assume you've got the systemd tools installed. They are a bit better about considering alternate configurations, than say, ArchLinux. Speaking of which ..
If you are thinking of ArchLinux as a method of escaping systemd, forget it. They also recommend installing systemd if you want a graphical desktop or wifi. All their HOWTOs seem to be written with it in mind, and they don't give as much thought to alternate configurations. All in all, though, both are much faster than the mainstream distributions on old hardware.

Comment Re:Done to _gouge_ the customer better (Score 1) 379

Dell is not a manufacturer of anything. They just take what's established and cheap, and slap a sticker or their logo on it. Currently it looks they are using Lexmark and Samsung internals, but all are proprietary enough that you must pay the Dell printer cartridge premium. Their ink cartridges also date expire and have detected fill levels so that you cannot reuse them.
Now, if you meant Toshiba, I understand, but their printers are typically so pricey that I only see them being leased out, not purchased.

Comment Origin of BSD (Score 1) 103

As I recall, BSD refers to BSD44 (or BSD v4.4), which I believe is the first version of Berkley Software Distribution [Unix] that was certified did not contain any of the SysV Unix code. Code that the university had obtained from Bell Labs for originally for training purposes. As I recall, there was a huge court battle over this in the 90s. Various pundits claim that if BSD had not been tied up in courts, hackers would not have taken an interest in the Minix clone, Linux. Then again, Linux had quite the court battle in the 2000s, and I don't remember FreeBSD users jumping through the roof. It takes quite a bit of dedication (e.g. time and desire) to track FreeBSDs -STABLE or -CURRENT. Was quite a bit of fun to compile your own kernel, though. Only one simple text file to read/modify.

As I understand, you can obtain the BSD44 sources if you desire. They are not free, though. You have to pay for shipping and the cost of a 9mm reel or two. So yes, the BSD is important as it shows that all the *BSD distros come from a Sys-V Unix parent.

Comment Scroll Lock/FreeBSD and Sun Keyboards (Score 1) 698

I do! The FreeBSD terminal uses a Scroll Lock tap to freeze the screen so that you can go back and read those make or gcc messages or warnings you just missed with the arrow keys. Another press of Scroll Lock returns you back to your prompt (or output, if you are still processing). LED is also usful to tell you what status you are in. Works great ...

Until you put your server on a KVM that uses Scroll Lock to select the current server or skip to the next server. So, do those Mac keyboards not have Scroll Lock, Break, and Print Screen? Other than those users using Greenshot or Gadwin ScreenPrint, how could they be using those keys...

Ah, I remember now - those are F13, F14, and F15. Except that the F-keys are hidden under other items like brightness up/down, volume up/down, screen mirror/extend and so on. So, why didn't researcher note those?

As for SUN keyboard layouts (USB variant plugged into Windows 7) - I like the Control Key placement(where caps lock is now). Escape is acceptable (replaces tilde & grace accent key). But that Backspace key! What were they smoking!
Sun Hardware Designer 1: "Most of Sun terminal app users use Ctrl-H and DEL anyway, so lets make the Backspace key the size of every other key, and put it UNDER the BackSlash key. So when a Windows user users our keyboard, every time he goes for BackSlash, he'll hit Backspace instead!"
Sun Hardware Designer 2: "That's great boss, my idea is to switch the position of the Super and Alt keys. Lets also shrink that BackSlash down and put a tilde/grave key there, too!"
Sun Hardware Designer 1: "Splendid, we'll keep people locked into using our servers forever because our design is so superior!"

Tongue firmly in cheek there, for those not getting it. I do like Caps Lock swtiched with Ctrl, though. That's very nice, and really is superior. I just wish those other keys weren't moved about. For those wondering what generation, there's a tiny Sun Sparc 4m that this is supposed to go with. The USB mouse doesn't work with Windows - maybe it needs a reflective pad?, but the keyboard works great.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.