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Comment Re: What about the rest of it? And Firefox? (Score 1) 143 143

"closed design"? really? I think you are thinking about Apple from 15 years ago. OS X has a lot of open source in it and its far easier to use open source software in it than on Windows. OS X also uses a lot of open standards, unlike MS "extend and embrace" system. As for the hardware, you can run Linux or Windows on it if you want, so I wouldn't exactly call that "closed design" or "complete control" either. OS X also has free developer tools unlike some other OS.

I think by "closed design" they're talking about Apple's hardware. Over the years, it's become less tinkerable, particularly the Macbooks as they've exchanged accessible battery, RAM and hard drives for ultra thin and lightness and battery-life. It's comforting to some that a few years down the road you can upgrade some parts and extend the life of the machine . But your typical consumer might not care so much, and the newer Macbooks are so freakin' thin and still feel solid like they're not gonna crack if you look at it funny. I suppose something's gotta give (and anyway, iFixit usually offers some way of swapping out the SSD).

Comment Re:I know (Score 1) 172 172

How is that any different from Windows 7? When installing Windows 7 you need to install Chrome, presumably turn off the visual effects since you seem to hate those, install classic shell for a usable start menu, disable crap like Media Centre (if you didn't install the N version), install a PDF viewer, a decent media player, rainmeter, Picasa etc.

You make a good point. Except for the visual effects, which I kinda like, all the things above apply to 7 as well. BUT... I've already done the work and now my 7 setup is the way I like. 10 means I have to do it all over again, and for little or nothing in return. High DPI support is something that might benefit me in the future (or not, depending on whether the app I'm using cooperates), and I don't care much about Bitlocker. OTOH, the biggest deal with Windows 10 is the whole "modern" app and Store thing, which I truly don't want or care about. If Edge, Cortana, or even the File Explorer offered something that was new and better (even the Mac now features Tabs in the Finder, and a desktop macro scripting tool (AppleScript) for automating repetitive tasks), it might mean something. But apps for tablets and phones I'm never going to buy... OneDrive when I'm already using Dropbox... 10 is a lateral move at best, that forces me to start over and sign in to a Microsoft account when I never had to before.

And "playskool" look? You prefer the ridiculous UI disaster of Vista, where important UI elements are lost in a sea of blurred crap because it was cool to make the whole god-damned window semi-transparent? Really, Windows 10 may not be pretty, but it's mostly functional and certainly no worse than Vista/7.

The blurred look in 7 can be tamed with the preferences right out of the box. Set the contrast, intensity, and colors to something neutral, and the chrome gets out of the way and lets you focus on your work. All I really want is good contrast between focus and non-focus windows (I rely on a hack to enable focus-follow-mouse, X11 style, which I admit is a little insane) and some drop-shadow so I can clearly distinguish one window from another because I have a lot on the screen at once. And 7 still has that "Advanced appearance settings..." in the "Window Color and Appearance" control-panel for fine-tuning things like the text-highlight color. The latter was removed with the release of 8, and has never re-appeared.

The only way 10 offers any amount of control over the look-and-feel is to drop into that god-awful throwaway "high contrast mode", where you might as well be back in the 90's with a CGA card.

If Windows 10 offered the option of mucking around with Aero, or the option of changing desktop widgets by color and size, the kind of thing Linux desktops have in abundance... but it doesn't. Shit. I remember Windows 95 with 95-plus could be completely skinned with Halloween or Fishtank themes, complete with funky sounds. OS X doesn't give much choice, but at least it's gun-metal grey and easy to forget about.

And the most frustrating thing about 10 is what little customizations you can make often don't apply to "modern" apps - they largely play by their own rules. Likewise, "modern" features like global spell-check don't work in Win32 apps. On the Mac, spell-check is universal. Windows 10, not so much. There's a Setting for it, but fire up Wordpad and type something, nothing.

Verdict, not a finished product, designers not focusing on the things I care about.

I'll probably upgrade within a year for the same reasons as everyone else: they're pulling the plug on Windows 7 and security patches are important. At least it's free. But the OP had asked if there was some compelling reason to upgrade, some killer gotta-have-it, holy-shit this-is-great show-your-Momma kinda thing. Windows 7 was holy-shit better than XP, easy choice unless there was some old app that just wouldn't run. Windows 10? Maybe eventually, when the only large monitors being sold are high-DPI.

Comment Re:I know (Score 5, Interesting) 172 172

Not me. Been beta-testing the preview builds for the last bunch of months, and I'm honestly unhappy to say there's no must-have, great, or even kinda-cool feature in 10 that compels me to upgrade from 7 (other than the stick-it-to-ya of planned obsolescence).

OTOH, there's a lot in Windows 10 that's just irritating. The lack of customizability in the UI (if you don't like the flat, playskool look, you're SOL). The yanking out of some of the fun time-wasting games (some have been replaced with "modern" versions for... what exactly? to acclimate users to the "modern" look? to force users to browse through the Store to find Minesweeper?). The unpolished split between the "modern" Settings app and the Control Panel for getting real work done. The insistence that you sign into a Microsoft account. The click-bait-laden live-tiles. The defaults to the use of ugly, too-big, less-capable "modern" apps for basic functions like PDF viewing, photo viewing, or even a simple calculator.

If I think about it,if I move from 7 because 7 is at EOL, I am going to spend my first bunch of hours shutting off everything that 10 offers. I would ditch Edge/Project Spartan for Chrome, first thing. Dull down the colors any way I can. Install classic-shell. Shut off the click-bait live-tiles from aggravating my ADHD with TMZ OMG bullcrap. Un-modernize everything by installing and making default 7-versions of the calculator, a PDF viewer, minesweeper, VLC, rainmeter, WinAero Tweaker, Picassa, etc. And then probably go looking for some skinning hacks, if any work on 10, because I can't stand that awful playskool look.

In other words, spend hours undoing everything that makes 10 look and act like 10. That's a helluva lot of wasted time for what's supposed to be an "upgrade". And for what? Touch? I don't use touch. DirectX 12? I don't game enough AAA titles to know the difference. The only reason I see to go to 10 is because Microsoft plans on pulling the plug on 7. Eventually. Or maybe if 10 handles scaling properly on ultra-high-res screens. Eventually.

If Windows to you is merely a platform from which to launch Steam and your favorite full-screen game(s), you probably have nothing to lose with 10. If you have a Surface, the "modern" apps make some sense (although when I tried them, Android and iOS equivalents are more polished and work better). But if you actually have to get real work done on the desktop like you do in 7 every day, 10 don't offer not one damn thing for the trouble. None that I can tell, anyway.

Comment Re:After a Shaky Start, Concorde WAS Profitable (Score 1) 238 238

Excellent catch, sir. But the Bloomberg article doesn't establish that the Concorde wasn't profitable prior to the announced retirement.

From the Vanity Fair article:

Lord Marshall characterizes the Concorde as having had a “reasonable operating-profit performance” from the mid-1980s right up until the July 2000 crash, except for brief dips into the red around the time of the 1987 stock-market plunge and the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Of course, as has been said, Concorde never recouped its development costs. But the popular idea that it always ran in the red is a myth. High ticket sales and a loyal clientele accustomed to 3-hour transatlantic travel kept it alive until the crash, and a lot of other factors collided to throw the program into the red while the planes were grounded being refitted with kevlar. Air France, stinging from the accident, wanted out, and Airbus didn't see any real money in maintaining such a small fleet of aging planes.

Airbus approached both airlines and informed them that the Concordes were due for an expensive new round of systems improvements and equipment upgrades. (Bannister says the figure was $60 million per airline over the next two years, above and beyond already budgeted maintenance.) Lord Marshall, in an interview with the London Times in May, said that when Air France balked at the expense, Airbus informed British Airways that it wouldn’t support the Concorde beyond October of this year. “It would have made it much more difficult for Airbus if Air France and BA had presented a united front in supporting the continuation of scheduled services,” Lord Marshall told the Times. To me, he offered no such gripes, but said that any speculation over whether the Concorde can carry on flying commercially beyond the scheduled termination date is moot, because “the manufacturer has now stated, quite categorically, that they will not support the aircraft beyond the end of October. And without that support, I would have to say that I think it is inconceivable that anybody could operate the aircraft.”

Comment Re:Help me with the math here (Score 1) 238 238

So that's something like 1% ^ 3, minus some overlap -- what part of US or global society do you have to be to make use of this?

Sheiks and Saudi royalty, Russian oil barrons, Larry Ellison, anyone who owns an apartment in this building or this neighborhood, all of whom would rather not have to breathe the same air as the proles and riff-raff in so-called first class in a plane built for normal people.

Read it and weep (or make-believe you're gonna win the lottery some day).

Comment After a Shaky Start, Concorde WAS Profitable (Score 2) 238 238

The only important reason it failed is because it was incredibly impractical and expensive to operate. Yes it was a marvel and all that, but you couldn't make money off it.

My understanding is that Concorde's unprofitability was mostly myth. There were problems in the beginning because fear-mongering in the States left only JFK as a destination, but once things settled and the ticket prices were reset to ultra-high class, things settled out just fine.

Had the Concorde really not been profitable, it would have been terminated long before the crash over Paris. That's just how business works. The problem was simply that the planes were aging, no replacement models were being made, and the operators were left to scavenging parts from other Concordes. With the Paris disaster, they had more expenses reinforcing the fuel tanks to try and prevent the disaster from occurring again. These things ultimately tipped the scales to grounding the program.

But is there a demand for crossing the Atlantic in 3 hours? Is there demand to cross the Pacific in 5 or less? Hell yes. If they build it, people will pay the ticket price (and enjoy the view of the curvature of the Earth through the window).

Comment Re:Even U238 isn't radioactive. (Score 1) 242 242

Probably a naive question, but isn't u238 the non-fissionable isotope of uranium? It sounds like it's chosen because it's one of the few superdense materials we have access to, to limit the thickness of the shielding needed to absorb the energy from the neutrons.

It depends on the energy of the neutron. Slow neutrons are reflected by U-238, which is why it is used as a tamper in nuclear weapons. Higher energy neutrons are absorbed by U-238 to lead to a transmutation to the toxic and explosive Pu-239, ala breeder reactors. With really really high energy neutrons, like you might get from a fusion reaction, U-238 will undergo fission just like its less stable 235 cousin.

If I understand correctly, any element heavier than Fe can be made to undergo fission with a powerful enough neutron bombardment.

Comment Re:WHAT radioactive materials? (Score 2) 242 242

Not if the neutrons are energetic enough. The reason H-bombs run away to such high yields is that the U-238 tamper jacketing the device becomes a massive source of fissile bomb-fuel once the fusion "spark" ignites and blasts high-energy neutrons in all directions. Just sayin'. Have a nice day.

Comment Re:*Please* don't use the old-style keyboard light (Score 1) 219 219

Because wiring closets are often poorly lit.

Somebody mod that up. I got no points when I need them.
I might add, lights also come in handy when servicing blackouts and your UPS's are gasping their last breath, and on red-eye flights.

Comment Re:Fun with EM sensitivity (Score 1) 529 529

Old-style big-tube fluorescents can be annoying, but not for some dumb EM sensitivity - they cause headaches because they can hum and strobe/flicker at a just perceptible frequency, particularly when their ballasts are wearing out and/or in combination with viewing a CRT-style computer screen (which itself is also flickering). Your handful of people may have gotten conditioned by this. I can remember getting killer headaches pulling all-nighter code sessions on a library workstation with such lights buzzing away in the ceiling.

Industry experts acknowledge that day-to-day exposure to older, magnetically ballasted long tube fluorescent bulbs found mostly in industrial and institutional settings could cause headaches due to their noticeable flicker rate. The human brain can detect the 60 cycles per second such older bulbs need to refresh themselves to keep putting out light.

CFLs, on the other hand, refresh themselves at between 10,000 and 40,000 cycles per second, rates too fast for the human eye or brain to detect. I was skeptical of them at first, but since they colored down to soft-white, CFL's don't bother me in the slightest.

Comment Re:More stupid reporting on SlashDot (Score 1) 192 192

At least MS isn't as bad as Apple where the literally force you to buy new hardware along with the new O/S (Ipad 1 anyone?)

A little harsh, there, don't you think? Apple's not literally forcing anyone to buy new hardware. My iPhone 3G (released in 2010, just like the first iPad) is working just fine, even though it's stuck at iOS 6. Pretty good for a 5-year-old consumer product. Do five-year old Android devices run Kit Kat? Any five-year-old Windows phones?

The upcoming release of OS X, just like the current one, supports machines all the way back to 2007 (that's a core 2 duo machine with 1GB RAM).
OTOH, my copy of Windows XP bitches at me every day that it's obsolete and dangerous, and now my Windows 7 machines are prompting me daily to sign up for the wonderful Windows 10 upgrade. To my recollection, no Apple product has put notices in my face like this.

And Microsoft has its own history of rendering hardware useless with each release. Windows 95 could just barely run on a 386, but required 4 megs RAM; windows 98 dumped the 386, and demanded 16 megs RAM and more disk space; windows ME and NT ditched the 486 and demanded 32 megs RAM (minimum) and more disk space; windows 2K required more MHz and more memory and disk space; windows xp required a 233MHz pentium, at least 64mb and 1.5gb disk space; Vista demanded an 800MHz processor, 512mb RAM, 15GB free disk and (dealbreaker for many at the time) a DirectX 9 graphics card; windows 7 bumped that up to a GHz processor, gig ram, 16 GB free disk space and the DirectX card. You could run Windows 8 with 1 GB machine (with the DirectX card), but would you want to?

Bashing Apple is all good where they deserve it, but every tech company leaves old hardware in the landfill. Also, the iPad 1 was a first-generation product; like the first iPhone or first Air, consumer-be-warned. The iPad 2 (2011), OTOH, is still fully supported and will run the upcoming iOS 9. Just sayin' call a spade a spade.

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