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Comment: Re:Sky drive? (Score 1) 144

my work has office 365 accounts and i'll be darned if I can get sky drive sync to work.

This is exactly why my reaction to this story was "Giant who-cares". Instead of x GB of dysfunctional online storage that doesn't work more often than it does Microsoft is now giving me infinite amounts of brokenness to play with. It's like taking a faulty laptop back to Dell and as a special offer they replace it with three faulty laptops.

Comment: Re:Not a chance (Score 1) 571

The obvious alternatives for USB-to-serial are:
1) Prolific 220x

Prolific are never an alternative, unless the question is something like "Would you rather have gonorrhea or ...?". In order of preference, it's something like FTDI, FTDI clones, banging rocks together to get ones and zeroes, Prolific, Prolific clones.

Comment: Re:20 million out of 50 million stolen? (Score 1) 59

Here's a really simplistic example - if you carry auto insurance the liability levels on your policy give a good indication of how much wealth you have (because liability coverage is about protecting your assets not anyone else).

You don't even need to go to the insurance companies, in Russia you just buy the registration database and then target people who have Mercedes and BMWs.

(I'm not being facetious, this is how the criminals actually do it).

Comment: Re:Why Cold Fusion (or something like it) Is Real (Score 1) 350

by arglebargle_xiv (#48179177) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

Springer is a rather serious publishing company. Springer journals carry very real weight.


Springer was a rather serious publishing company. In the last decade or so they've switched to publishing any old rubbish that they can make a fast buck off. Look at the LNCS series for examples, they're publishing proceedings of conference that look like they were held around a table in a beer hall.

Comment: Re:Whoa (Score 2) 132

by arglebargle_xiv (#48090219) Attached to: Test-Driving a $35 Firefox OS Smartphone

Now I'm curious. What OS would he run on a low-end device with 128mb of RAM?

Windows 95 would work fine: 4MB RAM (8MB recommended) so the RAM is overkill, ~50MB disk space so you could squeeze it in by omitting a few optional bits, VGA display so you really want 640x480 not 320x480 but it'd probably be OK, and the CPU is about as much overkill as the RAM. It had networking, a browser, everything but the touch-screen interface for which you'd need a third-party add-on. Or Windows for Pen Computing, a modified Windows 3.1.


Comment: Re:Why still 32bit builds? (Score 1) 554

Citation on user noticeable difference? Maybe on synthetic benches but not in any real world scenario.

Exactly. The reason why MS has kept the baseline constant since Vista came out is because that's about all the typical user needs. Whether you have a 2006 machine with the CPU idle 95% of the time or a 2014 machine with the CPU idle 99% of the time doesn't make any difference to Joe/Jane Sixpack browsing the web, reading email, and updating their Facebook page. Now admittedly sometimes they may really load the machine down and fire up Word, so the CPU is only 92% idle, but that's the exception.

This is also why the PC market has been stagnant for the last five years or so. Despite the constant predictions of pundits that "the PC is dead, tablets are taking over", the real issue is that there's no need to upgrade every two years any more. If you're a typical user (so not a Slashdot reader) and you bought a PC in the last five years you can just keep on using it until it physically wears out. It'll do everything you need to do with loads of capacity to spare.

(Typed on my not-so-new laptop with its CPU clock-throttled to 800MHz, and 97% idle).

Comment: Re:sounds like a job for (Score 1) 240

by arglebargle_xiv (#48044833) Attached to: Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records
In addition to the obligatory "mod parent insightful", I should add a comment on HL7: It didn't get that complex for the fun of it, but because medical systems are extremely difficult to systematise, and over time you end up having to add special cases and exceptions and exceptions to the exceptions and so on ad nauseum. As you say, Google couldn't even get the basic CCR implementation done ("hey, we can simplify things if we leave out this, and this, and this...") which ignored the fact that those things (well, at least some of them) were in there for a reason. HL7 has all of its "more than one instance of X" and "free-form anything" fields in various places for a reason...

Comment: Re:good (Score 1) 427

I get irked by the forced soullessly bland corporate inoffensiveness which seems to be popular round these parts at the moment. I'm actually heartened to hear that that phone vendor has not also suffered from that particular disease.

There's actually two considerations, the obvious one is "Do I like the picture?", but a more important one in many cases is "Can I see the icons above the background clutter created by the picture"? In the not-quite-Hello-Kitty version the answer, for about two thirds of the screen, was "No". So I've now switched to a fairly bland pic of a sunset that has muted, graduated colours that allow the icons and widget displays to be visible. Probably counts as corporate bland, but the usability is greatly improved.

Comment: Re:good (Score 3, Interesting) 427

Just note that the evil(tm) will be compounded by the crapware that some OEMs *and* carriers tend to slather onto the phones, on top of what Google is going to require.

I was stunned when I helped a family member set up their Android phone from a major vendor. A ton of Google crapware preloaded, and you couldn't do anything without signing up for Google everything (I didn't even know Android had an anal-probe permission before then). When I got my Chinese Android phone ($140, 5.5" IPS screen, unlocked, dual-SIM, quad-core 1.3GHz, etc) it had no preloaded crapware and, apart from Google Play which is needed to install apps (well, unless you want to jump through all sorts of hoops) didn't ask to sign me up for anything. The sole annoying thing about it was that the Chinese vendor's taste in wallpapers doesn't necessarily match Western tastes (it wasn't quite Hello Kitty, but close), but that was quickly fixed.

So it seems like the trick is to buy from vendors motivated by good honest greed (the product is the phone they sell you) rather than strategic business alliance blah blah considerations (the product is you).

Comment: Re:Quality and Psychology of Practice (Score 1) 192

by arglebargle_xiv (#48024991) Attached to: New Research Casts Doubt On the "10,000 Hour Rule" of Expertise

The entire nature/nurture debate almost always ignores the "quality of practice" issue. Not all practice is equal, just because it is deliberate. The specific activities chosen may be more or less efficient at improving a skill.

It also depends on what talent, or aspect of personality, you're looking at. One case which has been heavily studied, because it has such a large impact on society, is psychopathy. The answer to the question of "is it nature or nurture" is "yes". In other words an at-risk child doesn't necessarily develop a full-blown personality disorder (= psychopathy) unless the conditions are right, and conversely a child treated a certain way doesn't necessarily automatically develop a personality disorder (that's in most cases, in some cases they're lost no matter what anyone does). So having the needle swing back to "it's both" won't surprise people who have looked at nature vs. nurture in other areas.

Comment: Re:What's so hard about using the time-honored (Score 4, Funny) 242

by arglebargle_xiv (#48016751) Attached to: At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert

There is nothing more annoying than:

1) Fake friendliness (if you care so much about my name try and remember it for next time since I tell you it on almost a daily basis)

2) People who can't pronounce my name

3) People who can't spell my name

4) People who use alternate spellings of my name without confirming the correct one (my name has 3 alternate spellings)

I get that all the time because of my European surname, I mean how hard can it be to pronounce Echsteinlefahrtengruber? With my Serbian wife I can understand it, Grzplstcknfltmrzovic can be a bit of a mouthful the first time you see it, but anyone should be able to get my name right.

An optimist believes we live in the best world possible; a pessimist fears this is true.