Poppy seeds, if nothing else grows then they can at least have some fun.
That explains a lot why I seem to have headache with Creative drivers on an older card I have when I tried to make it work under Windows 7.
I would say that the people intentionally buying the Soundblaster cards are people that want to have something more than what the ordinary on-board cards can provide. But the reason may vary - it may be because they need additional inputs, better sound quality or have a specific application that works best with the Soundblaster cards.
That said I think that today it might be worth to consider USB connected sound cards as well as alternatives.
However the standalone sound card manufacturers have to work hard to keep up. For high-end audio the best connection is a digital connection from computer to a good amplifier supporting all the latest formats and good speakers. Personally I routed the CPU board digital output to a Denon 5.1 amplifier connected to a pair of Dali Concept 1 loudspeakers and a subwoofer. Definitely a lot better than the ordinary sound that you can get from even the more expensive loudspeaker sets dedicated for computer use.
Both architectures have their merits. I wouldn't say that one is better than the other.
At least Minix has come a long way since the late 80's where any crash after an uptime of more than 2 hours could be attributed to the OS instead of the application.
This yet again highlights that the three-party trust system is broken.
There are ways around it, but there is no great solution - only workarounds.
Which ball is the best for the players?
Personally I prefer the Telstar.
I think this is the biggest risk when it comes to a possible new outbreak. Some uneducated people clean out a lab of storage facility and just throws everything in a dumpster without knowing what they are working with.
It has happened before with other stuff (medical records, computers etc.) and it will happen again. The question is if there is something somewhere that is a major danger. Even worse is if there are some vials with biological warfare material that makes Ebola seem like a common cold. Since much of that research is done secretly it's not easy to know - and in some cases everyone that knows may have passed away and the remains of those projects are just stored in a warehouse with a reference to some documents that have been shredded a decade or more ago.
I plainly don't know the answer to it yet.
Same goes for commercial offerings - you never know when they get killed.
I have yet to see anyone really using the map services Microsoft offers as primary source.
And hope that it's the right voltage!
And what if I don't have a battery in my computer?
I never installed the battery in my previous laptop, so I would need an outlet at all times. It didn't matter to me since it was so heavy that I couldn't use it except as a portable desktop anyway.
I suspect that mechanical hard disks stand out since they are lubricated with some kind of oil. But otherwise not.
In my home I have way too many hard drives laying around from old computers - and a lot of other electronic parts. It will take quite a while for them to go through the stuff - provided that they can find useful controller cards for reading them.
The obligatory on this matter: http://xkcd.com/1338/
At least I interpreted it as humans being on the edge of becoming extinct.
But in reality that would take something more deadly than Ebola and as contagious as the common cold.
Looking at a larger perspective it do look like we are too many humans around on this planet and that a severe cut to 1% of the current pressure would probably be necessary to solve the problem of overpopulation and environmental impact.