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Comment: Re:Enabling multiple windows (Score 1) 605

by bevoblake (#43083961) Attached to: Why Can't Intel Kill x86?
I would think that porting non-web apps to Chrome OS would be a substantial amount of work - basically just as difficult as converting them to web apps. Google has added a tool which will allow you to remote to a desktop computer from a Chromebook and run desktop apps in that manner (using chrome extensions I think). Enabling developer mode and getting Xfce running isn't terribly difficult, but I'd be tempted to wait a few months and keep tabs on the Xfce distributions. They feel like Alpha technology to me right now, and I think that at least Beta quality would make the experience much better (and should be forthcoming as many Linux distribution developers are hacking on the samsung box right now - Fedora, Bodhi, openSUSE, Chrubuntu, Arch, and others). Regardless, I'm surprised at how nice the browsing experience is on the Chromebook and am looking forward to upcoming releases from the above linux distros.

Steps needed to get Xfce up would include flipping to dev mode on the Chromebook (easy), purchasing an appropriately sized SD card (also easy, just buy high performance as this will be a performance bottleneck), and then depending on the OS you attempt to install to the SD card, you may have steps as easy as putting an image onto the SD card (fairly easy) or manually copying numerous files from various different Chromebook directories and linux distributions onto the SD card (involved but well documented). This last step will be significantly easier if you already have a linux box to use - most of the documentation and tools are linux centric. The linux install probably voids the warranty, but I haven't actually checked.

Comment: Re:ARM can't even run 2 windows at once (Score 2) 605

by bevoblake (#43083315) Attached to: Why Can't Intel Kill x86?
I'm running multiple windows on ARM simultaneously on my ARM samsung chromebook this very moment, and it's very fast and very crisp. It feels like using chrome on a fresh windows install. I've also tried opensuse on this machine, and while its buggy, the processor runs XFCE very quickly. While ARM may not currently be the performance king, ARM is already viable on the desktop for users without high performance computing needs.

Comment: Re:Treadmill desk (Score 1) 204

by bevoblake (#40232791) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Future of Standing/Walking Workstations?
I'd have to dig out the paper, but I'm 95% sure that his initial quote was 600 dollars. Regardless, it's near that even if it isn't spot on. He's a fairly inexpensive carpenter though, so your mileage may vary. There are probably some commercial offerings in this range (although many are way more), but the benefits of the custom-design and getting solid wood made that a better alternative for me. He did say that depending on the complexity and quality of the wood, prices could change dramatically. For example, when I showed him a furniture piece made with antiqued wood of some sort, he said that it would cost significantly more just from raw materials.

Comment: Re:Treadmill desk (Score 1) 204

by bevoblake (#40225505) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Future of Standing/Walking Workstations?

My work over the past 6 months has varied between programming (small component of my work), extensive spreadsheet monkeying, writing quick reference training documentation, end user training, project management, and an embarrassing amount of emailing. I haven't noticed a drop in typing speed, and for any work that needs more dexterity, I just slow down the treadmill. If you get the treadmill moving slowly enough, there shouldn't be much degradation of your working capabilities at all. Also, somewhere else in these comments, someone recommended a trackball instead of a mouse, which actually makes a ton of sense to me after my experience.

As for eyesight/reading, I'm a tough person to speak on that as my eyesight is pretty good. I have not noticed an issue there; my eyes don't seem to have an issue locking onto words at a strolling pace. I think I might actually have to hit a full jog before noticing any difference on that front.

As I mentioned in my original post, mousing at faster walking paces was the most challenging thing for me.

Also, I would think that working at a standing desk for a few days would actually be a good trial run. It will allow you to get used to spending more time in an upright posture, which is a significant adjustment. I think it's helpful to start out only doing that for an hour or two a day and then increasing it as you like it. You can get a taste of it by putting a box on a counter top with a laptop on it and working for a couple of hours. If that feels like an improvement, then keep doing more. If it drives you nuts, then you've saved yourself some time and money. Lastly, I also tighten up some as I stand/walk, which makes me stretch every now and then. I didn't do this at a seated desk but probably should have.

Comment: Re:Treadmill desk (Score 3, Informative) 204

by bevoblake (#40221899) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Future of Standing/Walking Workstations?

I put together a treadmill desk about six months ago. Typing/mousing and walking is definitely a consideration. I had to reduce my mouse sensitivity slightly, and I also have to keep my walking speed at or below 2 mph in order to have any chance of typing accurately. I find I'm quite accurate at 1 mph. I reserve 2 mph for times when I'm mostly reading.

I also was unpleasantly surprised by the prices of the commercial offerings for these desks. I'm currently using a DIY cardboard desk and have a carpenter building a custom-made wooden desk, which will still be cheaper than the commercial offerings.

Regardless, I got into this because of 1. Ergonomics - sitting kills my back and 2. Health - this allows me to put in a decent amount of exercise with little to no joint impact while I work.

Plus, I'm slightly less stressed if I'm walking as I work.

Downsides: Until I get into the "zone" as I work, walking and managing a computer is annoying. Decent treadmills take up a ton of room. It's noisy enough that I have to stop it every time I get a phone call.

All in all, I'm glad I did it. And it provided me with a great excuse to wall mount a 60" HDTV as my computer monitor. :-D

Comment: Re:Latency (Score 3, Informative) 98

by bevoblake (#31162404) Attached to: Verizon To Allow Skype Calling On Its Network
As a quick followup, here are some quotes on 3G call quality from the iphone blog:

I’ve been using Skype over 3G ever since it came out (first with VoIPover3G, now with 3G Unrestrictor) and I have to say that quality sucks. I get dropped calls, sound dropping in and out, weird noises during the call, etc."

We have the largest and fastest 3G network in the world here in Australia (44mbps downlink in the cities, 21mbps everywhere else – 99% of the population have 3G), and being a fairly small population – congestion isn’t an issue. VOIP over 3G works, but it totally sux. Like really, unless you can’t afford to make a phone call (unlikely if you have an iPhone) then it’s not worth the mucking about.

Cellular data connections are very bursty with high amounts of latency. Fine for browsing the web, or streaming media where the player has a buffer, but pretty awful for having a real-time duplex conversation. Which is why I really am ok with just using Skype over wifi.

A few people post quotes to the effect "quality is so-so but it's good enough for me," but most responses seem pretty negative towards the call quality.

Comment: Latency (Score 2, Interesting) 98

by bevoblake (#31162252) Attached to: Verizon To Allow Skype Calling On Its Network
My 3G cell connection has nasty latency (200ish pings generally) and made for a poor skype experience when tethered to my computer. Delays in voice calls are pretty obnoxious when accustomed to cell and landline connections - I don't see this as a viable competitor to cell minute usage even if Verizon allowed skype over 3G to US landlines.

Has anyone else had any contrary experience?

Comment: Re:Will have to wait and see (Score 1) 427

by bevoblake (#31149868) Attached to: Does Microsoft Finally Have a Phone Worth Buying?
The Palm WebOS multi-tasking UI is pretty rock-solid. I was reconciling numbers between an email and a text memo earlier with both windows open side by side "deck of cards" view. The phone has plenty of quirks - including some OS-level memory issues, but everybody should start copying their multi-tasking UI. It's very easy to switch between apps and close extra open apps.

Comment: Re:I'm not holding my breath (Score 1) 427

by bevoblake (#31149548) Attached to: Does Microsoft Finally Have a Phone Worth Buying?
I've heard other people echo your point. My experience on the Moto Q (the original) was that the phone was absolutely worthless. I don't know if it was WinMo 5, Motorola, or the combination of the two, but it was by a long shot the worst cell phone experience I've ever had. I've spoken with other Q users who had similar experiences. This might not be the fault of MS, but Apple, controlling their hardware and the interaction between the hardware and OS may have generated a better product than MS because of that control. I'm currently using a Palm Pre, which has some issues, but drastically fewer than what I experienced on the Q. If one company has total responsibility for the customer experience, they probably have more ability and initiative to improve the user experience through the entire product pipeline. Nokia, Palm, Apple, and possibly Google (Nexus One) have this advantage.

Comment: Re:Do we really need... (Score 1) 744

by bevoblake (#29913889) Attached to: Ubuntu 9.10 Officially Released
As an off-again-on-again linux user since the early days of Redhat and Caldera, I would have historically agreed with the need for a relatively long-use release. However, I think Ubuntu has become very easy to use for the installation of new programs. Apt-get is a huge win. This helps eliminate the difficulty of setting up a new environment when you reinstall the OS. For the few applications that aren't available via apt-get, I'm willing to spend some extra time (although installing the latest version of ruby/gems/somewhat rarely used gems/rails on my last ubuntu install was a bit brutal).

That said, I probably will stick with the next long-term release for an extended time period for many of the reasons you mention compounded by my general laziness.

Comment: Re:Scary (Score 2, Interesting) 1016

by bevoblake (#28942947) Attached to: California Student Arrested For Console Hacking
I think the actions of building an atomic bomb or a biological weapon should be illegal for the public good. It's too late to prosecute someone for "blowing something up" with a highly-destructive device. As for possessing explosive material - what about ammonium nitrate? It's a high explosive with legitimate uses as a fertilizer. The "act of fiddling" with it is what makes it dangerous, not the inherently useful materials to begin with.

I understand your argument and where you're trying to go with it, but there are many shades of grey here that aren't handled. I'd tend to argue that the cops may be doing something correct by arresting someone who is modding consoles solely for the purpose of copyright violation (which I'd be shocked if he wasn't), but I'd say the main error here is that the potential penalty is too draconian. Furthermore, if they apply DMCA to more legitimate practices, such as modifying the PS3 to run home-made programs that you couldn't otherwise run, the cops should take it on the nose. I haven't heard of that happening; although as crappy as the DMCA is, I won't be surprised to hear it.

Never put off till run-time what you can do at compile-time. -- D. Gries

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