Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:sansa story (Score 1) 269

by Waccoon (#48591857) Attached to: Apple's iPod Classic Refuses To Die

The reason I bought an m200 series is specifically because it runs off an AAA battery. I figured it wouldn't crap out on me after a year since the battery is easily replaceable, unlike all the devices with built-in lithium batteries.

It still works perfectly, and I still use it, at least at my drawing desk. I'm also finding it very difficult to part with it, despite the lack of storage.

Comment: Re:To infinity and beyond! (Score 1) 132

by Waccoon (#48308061) Attached to: Mozilla Teases First Browser Dedicated To Devs

The real problem is that once all that memory is allocated, it never gets let go. It' perfectly fine to say that your copy of Firefox doesn't exceed 300 MB of memory usage in most cases, but if it does, only a restart can fix it. That may not be a "leak" in the traditional sense, which is why the geeks are upset about the meme, but the end result is the same. The problem is very much real, and has been for, oh... about 8 years!

AdBlock is greediest memory hog. After enabling that one extension, 10 minutes of browsing bloats memory usage to beyond 1GB and the browser slows down BIG time... to the point where it's practically unusable.

The issue appear to still be the JavaScript heap. Close all tabs and point your last open window to "about:blank". Then look at "about:memory". Almost all memory usage, probably several hundreds of MB, will be in the JS heap, not caches. I understand that a large part of the Firefox UI relies on JavaScript, but if you close all web pages, I would expect most memory, or at least a reasonable amount, to be released. If you're using an AdBlock-enabled version of Firefox which has allocated 1.5 GB of memory and then do the "about:blank" test, memory usage doesn't go down at all, despite the fact the browser isn't showing any live content.

The infamous "pausing" problems are also still present. They occur only when Firefox has allocated a huge amount of memory, and are probably related to either garbage collection or session state saves. Firefox really needs some sanity checks, or at least some tweaks so massive memory usage doesn't kill performance.

Comment: Re:just like cell phones (Score 1) 415

by Waccoon (#48276609) Attached to: How Apple Watch Is Really a Regression In Watchmaking

My brother-in-law doesn't have a dedicated GPS in his car. He says he doesn't need it since he has his iPhone with him all the time. The problem is that when I'm driving and I need him to navigate, he keeps the iPhone tucked away 95% of the time. His justification? "I don't want to use up the battery."

I'll stick to my Garmin. It was cheap and works ten times better.

I for one don't understand how people so easily adapt to the practice of having to plug in their laptops and phones every couple hours, gravitate towards wall sockets, and lug around their wall warts all day (and leave them all over the place where you can trip over them).

Comment: Re:Yosemite (Score 1) 370

by Waccoon (#48184941) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

Such toggles lead to low-use code paths in the OS, which means they don't get nearly the same amount of testing and they increase the complexity of the underlying software, increasing the risk of bugs in both settings

What testing? It's pretty solidly accepted that the last few iterations of iOS/OSX have been the buggiest in a long time.

After the iOS 8 update, scores of people on DeviantArt and other art sites I frequent said they were unable to upload any images from their Apple devices. Indeed, that was due to an OS bug. How the hell does something as fundamental to standards compliance get overlooked by QA?

Comment: Sounds wrong (Score 1) 89

by Waccoon (#47797927) Attached to: RAYA: Real-time Audio Engine Simulation In Quake

To me, this demo is serious uncanny valley territory.

When I was composing MOD music on my Amiga back in the late 80's, I was very much aware of the problem of playing the same instrument on the left and right channels at the same time, especially when doing pitch slides. You got all kinds of weird interference problems, or the audio version of moire effects, if you will. If you were good composer, it could be used to good effect in music in a lot of cases, but most of the time it was a real pain, especially with sound effects in games.

I hear plenty of that in this demo, and it's far different and more annoying than actual reverb. As it is, the sound is just too "off" for me to consider it an improvement, and just like 3D sound, I'd have this feature turned off.

Comment: Re:Now almost as useful as python was 5 years ago! (Score 1) 118

by Waccoon (#47797821) Attached to: PHP 5.6.0 Released

Every time I update PHP on my Windows dev box, I have to re-arrange the order of the extensions in the config file to get PHP to start. Apparently, if you use any extensions that aren't enabled in a vanilla install, the default order of the extensions results in dependency issues. The helpful, paraphrased error message I get is something like, "PHP can't load this extension".

Yes, I know I'm talking about the Windows version, but installing PHP still isn't as simple as just unzipping an archive.

Then again, I've learned not to trust anything in PHP that is designed to make it portable across OSes. I used to use PHP_EOL to determine which newline style to use in my text files. On more than one occasion, PHP_EOL was broken and produced UN*X newlines.

Comment: Re:Also those sliding "give us your email' boxes (Score 1) 418

by Waccoon (#47497689) Attached to: Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

"Pop" is too kind a term. What usually happens is that the screen darkens, and an animated box will slowly scroll into view, then the ad will fade into the box, followed my more JQuery-ish transitions before the close gadget (if you can recognize it as such) finally comes last. Click the close gadget, and the whole thing proceeds in reverse. Really nice when combined with paginated content!

Once I see a page darken, I immediately hit F5. If it darkens again, I close the window. There are actually some sites on the Internet where I intentionally disable AdBlock, but I won't tolerate any site that attempts to block content on purpose.

Comment: It's all in the bridge (Score 1) 101

It's been known for a while that if you place a banjo mute or any other metal object directly on the bridge, not only does it mute the volume but it also eliminates the characteristic, metallic ring. Placing objects anywhere else along the strings, pot, or even on the drum has little to no effect. The "valley" created by the bridge pressing into the drum is surprisingly small, so only a very small area of the drum affects the behavior of the bridge.

The bridge is what defines the sound of the banjo, and using differently shaped bridges has a bigger impact than using different drum materials.

It's a shame I lost most of the strength in my fingers over the years. I tried different setups for my banjo, but I could never actually play it. It's a wonderful and fascinating instrument.

The algorithm for finding the longest path in a graph is NP-complete. For you systems people, that means it's *real slow*. -- Bart Miller