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Comment: Re:It's sad (Score 1) 397

by Xtifr (#48022701) Attached to: Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices

Remember when simply bundling IE was a monopoly abuse?

Saying that MS "simply bundled IE" is like saying that John Dillinger "simply withdrew money from a bank".

Google is behaving in exactly the same way

Only in the sense that I'm behaving in exactly the same way as John Dillinger when I withdraw money from my bank. :)

(The difference, in case it's not obvious, is that when I withdraw money from my bank, I don't do it in a way that violates any laws.)

Comment: Re: Out of the frying pan... (Score 1) 188

by Xtifr (#48017721) Attached to: NVIDIA Begins Requiring Signed GPU Firmware Images

For older cards, the OSS driver might end up being better than crapalyst.

Actually, it's the newer cards that are reported to have better performance with the latest OSS drivers.

This is a pretty recent development, though. A little over a year ago, everything I'd heard was in line with what you're saying. But when I heard about all the improvements in the recent OSS drivers, I took a chance and bought a box with ATI, just a couple of months ago, and I must say that it's been absolutely smooth, effortless, and 100% hassle free. With a 3.12 kernel (now upgraded to 3.14). And no catalyst.

If your experience is older than that, then I think your information may be out of date.

Not that I'm saying you should switch or anything. No skin off my nose. Just saying your data may be out of date.

Comment: Re: Out of the frying pan... (Score 1) 188

by Xtifr (#48012749) Attached to: NVIDIA Begins Requiring Signed GPU Firmware Images

The 3d stuff does work, just not for the latest cards.

Are you sure? You may need a more up-to-date kernel than your favorite distro provides to support the latest cards, but I certainly had the impression that AMD is actively pushing code into the mainstream kernel. Southern Island and Sea Island chipsets are both supported in 3.16 (and possibly earlier).

3D performance on many ATI/AMD cards is actually better with the open source kernel drivers than with the proprietary drivers if you have a recent enough kernel, according to some reports I've heard.

Comment: How about... (Score 1) 206

by Xtifr (#48012625) Attached to: My toy collection is ...

Small and moderately important. Almost none of it would qualify as "great sentimental value", but I can't say they're not important to me at all. Especially my penguin collection. I got a couple of plushy Tuxes from trade shows many years back, and several of people in my family became convinced that I was collecting penguins, so they started giving me any penguins they found. I wasn't, and am not, collecting penguins, but it turned into a nifty little collection despite my lack of effort, and I'd miss it if it disappeared.

The Star Trek DS9 action figures were given to me as a joke. Which is all that needs to be said about that. :)

The Bruce Campbell action figure is rather a treasure. Even if it's (or perhaps especially because it's) Autolycus, King of Thieves, rather than Ash.

The rest is just doo-dads, but fun doo-dads.

Comment: Why should I pick one? (Score 1) 402

by Xtifr (#47987141) Attached to: It's Banned Books Week; I recommend ...

* Brave New World: an underrated classic, full of terrifying ideas, many of which are far beyond Orwell's worst nightmares, but at the same time, well-written and engaging. Very much worth reading. A personal favorite.
* Farenheit 451: a critique of television that also works as a critique of censorship in general. Lacks the scope of BNW or 1984, but still well worth reading.
* 1984: slightly overrated classic. Very timely warnings when it was written (1948), full of obvious and still-current threats, but without the grand scope of BNW, and also a bit of a slog to read. Orwell had great ideas, but lacked Huxley's literary flair and his grand vision. Worth reading as an icon of the genre if nothing else, though.
* His Dark Materials: a YA pop fantasy series mostly famous because of the author's dislike for organized religion. Narnia for atheists. Fun if you're into that sort of thing, but popcorn.
* A Clockwork Orange: If it weren't for the movie, I'm not sure this would be famous. The movie is good. The book is so-so.
* The Handmaid's Tale: haven't read.

Comment: The real problem (Score 1) 124

Yeah, blame it all on the examiners--don't pay any attention to the management which requires them to process and pass as many patents as they can in as little time as possible, because that brings in the most money. It's all the fault of those "lazy" employees who basically do what they're told! :p ;)

If you really want to change things, don't measure performance by how many patents are granted! Because there's no surer way of guaranteeing that bad patents will be passed than that!

Comment: More options! (Score 1) 228

by Xtifr (#47867265) Attached to: DNA sequencing of coffee's best use:

Geeze, these options lack vision! How about...

Coffee plants that can grow in different climates--underwater might be good, since that may be where many of us will be living soon. :)

Self-brewing coffee plants that you can just drink directly from.

Giant coffee plants that can be used in construction, so your house smells like fresh-brewed coffee at all times.

Super-intelligent mobile coffee plants that can be used as soldiers in my plans to take over the world!

Comment: Re:Odor of Corruption (Score 1) 115

by Xtifr (#47766513) Attached to: Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students

Indeed, which is why, when I talk to kids about math in school, one of the things I like to point out is that while statistics are, in general, rather boring, it's really important to learn enough to have at least a chance of recognizing when they're being used to lie to you. This argument gets through to a suprising number of them.

Comment: Re:Gravity isn't SF (Score 1) 180

by Xtifr (#47732787) Attached to: The 2014 Hugo Awards

Heh, depending on how you define "fantasy elements", sure, but then the same thing can be said of mainstream fiction, detective novels, and the movie Gravity. :)

In the context of science fiction and fantasy, the term "fantasy elements" generally refers to pure magic and other impossible things; since OP claimed that Gravity lacked fantasy elements, that seemed like a more plausible interpretation of what he meant.

Comment: Re:So, what controversy? (Score 2, Informative) 180

by Xtifr (#47722739) Attached to: The 2014 Hugo Awards

I've read some of what he's written on his blog, and I am more than satisfied that he's a racist, sexist, homophobic dipshit who completely deserves all the opprobrium he receives. What's worse, he's one of those crazy religious fanatics who twists the bible into excuses to hate people, like the Westborough folks. As a human, I find him utterly contemptible.

Nevertheless, if I'd been voting on the Hugos this year, I would have judged his work on its own merit. I still find Orson Scott Card an outstanding writer, despite my (milder) contempt for the man himself. Fortunately, I have many friends who were Hugo voters this year, who are also capable of separating their opinion of the artist from their opinion of the art, and they have uniformly told me that the work didn't deserve a nomination, let alone a win. Maybe it wasn't bad enough to end up below no-award--maybe that happened because of Day's vile on-line persona--but the fact that it didn't win seems to me to be fully justified.

Comment: Re:Gravity isn't SF (Score 1) 180

by Xtifr (#47722479) Attached to: The 2014 Hugo Awards

Gravity isn't science fiction. We actually do send people into space, and that kind of disaster could sort of happen.

"Could happen"--but hasn't. That's what makes it science fiction. "Speculative science" is absolutely not a requirement of SF, and "predictions of the future" is basically what it was. It was at least as plausible a prediction as something like Heinlein's "...If This Goes On". And "fantasy elements", in a lot of people's opinions, loosely including mine, are never an element of actual science fiction.

Space exploration and research still falls basically in the domain of science these days, even though it's a lot more of an everyday activity than it once was. Once tickets to space become affordable to the average person, then maybe we can say that a movie like Gravity is no more SFnal than something like The Fast and the Furious. But until then, I think it qualifies, and a whole lot of people seem to agree with me.

Comment: no longer seems worth it (Score 2) 391

by Xtifr (#47602527) Attached to: How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

I used to build my own, because that was the best way to get the specs I wanted at a good price. Especially since I run Linux. But I'm a software guy, and have always considered futzing with the hardware to be a necessary evil, rather than a goal on its own. Once I was able to get off-the-shelf machines that met my needs, I happily stopped building my own.

I voted 6-8 years ago, because the machine I bought about eight years ago needed some additions and improvements. It wasn't a full DIY, so I'm not sure it counts, but it was the last machine I had that was even partly DIY. Since then, it's seemed like machines that meet my specs are actually cheaper than buying their component parts, and that's before you factor in build time.

Comment: Re:Tricky (Score 1) 152

by Xtifr (#47553637) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

We're talking about streaming media

Who's "we"? Looking throught the comments, I see a lot of people expressing confusion about the point.

Oh, and I'd say that a web-page counts as streaming text. And a lot of people might consider Project Gutenberg's offerings (for example) as more-or-less streaming, if you read them online.

Comment: Re:Not sure... (Score 1) 152

by Xtifr (#47540047) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

Thanks. Hadn't thought of that, since it's way, way down on my list of priorities, but that makes a lot of sense. I can't actually moderate, since I've already commented, but please accept this virtual +1 interesting. :)

Still, the fact that there are relatively simple workarounds doesn't mean there aren't region restrictions.

Comment: Re:Not sure... (Score 1) 152

by Xtifr (#47529149) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

I watch a fair amount of YouTube stuff (and appreciate the complete lack of stupid regional restrictions).

It's not actually a complete lack. I haven't been able to watch the last couple of seasons of QI, because the BBC allows them on YouTube only with regional restrictions, and I'm not in the UK, and the BBC hasn't arranged for any other form of distribution of the show in the US. But in general, yeah, it's better than a lot of the alteratives.

(I could probably snag them off some torrent site somewhere, but I don't do that sort of thing in general.)