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Comment To everybody bashing gaming laptops... (Score 3, Insightful) 90

Until very recently I was traveling for work every week, and the gaming laptop on which I am typing this post saved my sanity and liver in plenty of hotel rooms. It is a Clevo P150SM-A, weighing in at about 12lbs including AC adapter. It was not fun lugging it around airports twice a week while waiting for connecting flights. But it did the job, and I could play Fallout, Skyrim, Bioshock, Dying Light and many other games at very respectable frame rates. Even now that my traveling days are done, I am sitting on my balcony with a cup of tea, enjoying the end of the Canadian summer. I can also set it up in my living room while my significant other is watching TV.

I had gaming desktops for about a decade, and I just got tired of being stuck at the same desk in the evenings, while spending my mornings at a different desk in the office.

I am aware that a laptop's performance will never come close to that of a desktop. But if you cannot understand why someone will make that trade-off, don't click reply.

All that said, I am surprised nobody mentioned the significant issue that Nvidia has with the Windows 10 upgrade. NBR is full of reports of black screens after upgrading, and the cause seems to be the Nvidia driver overwriting the LCD EEPROM. It seems Alienwares are particularly affected, with a few Clevos as well.

Comment Re:Gamers are dead. (Score 1) 239

And, of course, streaming and "let's plays." Why are people sitting around watching OTHER PEOPLE play games that they themselves could be playing? But they do!

I agree with all your other points by and large. However I am guilty of watching the entire "let's play" of The Last of Us WITHOUT commentary. Why? I heard the amazing reviews of the story line, but I have never and will never own either a PS3, PS4 or any other console for that matter. Since that game will never be released on PC, I figured that was the only way to experience it. I was NOT disappointed.

I also watched the beginnings a few more "let's plays." It convinced me to buy Dying Light, Bioshock Infinite and Metro Last Light. I never finished Dying Light because the gameplay was too complex for the time I can allot to gaming, but I may pick it up again in the future.

One thing I do not understand with most "let's plays" is how can people watch them WITH commentary. That annoyed the fuck out of me, I switched to the silent version instantly. Unless you're Morgan Freeman reading a script written by the Daily Show team, please shut up while playing a game for YT.

Comment Waiting for Nexus 4 image (Score 3, Interesting) 75

I almost don't care how buggy it will be, as soon as Jolla or someone else will release a fully functional image for my Nexus 4, I will flash it.

I am already running CM10.2 without a Google Account or any Google Apps for that mattet, and source all my apps from f-droid. So in my case the tether has been cut about 4 months ago, and I do not miss Google one bit.

Switching back to Sailfish, having used Maemo and Meego in the past, will be awesome. Looking forward to it.

Comment Re:xterm? root? (Score 5, Insightful) 307

Sadly, this Jolla thing has no keyboard and thus is a non-starter for me.

But add one and I promise to be the first in line to buy it. My N900 is starting to fall apart...

As the owner of two Nokia N900s, HTC Desire (Nexus One), HTC Sensation, and LG Nexus 4, as well as a former owner of a Nokia N9, I can say the hardware keyboard on the N900 is highly overrated. Yes, when the N900 came out touchscreen keyboards were garbage, and the small screen and low resolution of the HTC Desire made typing on it an adventure. Same went for the Nokia N9 by the way, I loved the swype interface, hated the lack of keyboard. Fast forward to the HTC Sensation and LG Nexus 4, and I can type MUCH faster than I ever could on the N900.

I can think of a couple of reasons a hardware keyboard may be useful, such as typing in a terminal where sharing half the screen between the keyboard and the command line output IS a pain. And also using the phone in cold weather with gloves is much easier with a hardware keyboard.

But writing off the ONLY new phone running a real Linux distribution, with real native apps, open ecosystem from a company that is not interested in stealing your private data just because it lacks a keyboard just seems like trolling to me.

I personally will buy one as soon as it becomes available in Canada without being on pre-order.

Comment Depending on the platform, there are some options. (Score 4, Interesting) 319

The issue is you cannot protect your privacy directly from the NSA. They seem to have tapped communication between Google data centres, can request any information they wish from any company (Google, FB, your local ISB and phone provider, etc), so the only option is limiting the amount of data you provide. Interestingly I started taking the following steps even before the leaks simply because I became uncomfortable with the major corporations gathering my data and then changing their privacy policies at will. That's not how contracts are supposed to work, and disagreeing doesn't seem to have any effect. Once Snowden went public, my paranoia turned out to be justified.

In general terms, I do not share anything truly personal on a public forum. So on FB I never upload pictures, I do not share places I visit, and I do not provide a phone number. I just use it to set up events like Birthdays or nights out. I do not use twitter, foursquare, pinterest, instagram, myspace or whatever social fad of the day happens to be. It could be that in my early thirties I'm becoming a technology Luddite, but then I was never denied a job because my *insert questionable behavior here* is posted all over the net.

Google is a special case. I started using Gmail when getting invites was almost impossible, and Youtube when they were still independent. So giving up my Gmail account would be a VERY significant undertaking, especially since I couldn't come up with better alternatives (fast, supporting POP3, almost perfect uptime, and guaranteed not to shut down). But I never stay signed into Gmail outside checking my mail, I do not use G+, I stopped using YT while being logged in, and I search through DuckDuckGo. And if anyone can suggest a reliable email provider that is NOT Google, MS or Yahoo, I am all ears.

Getting to specific platforms, on a Windows 7 PC, I use Seamonkey with Adblock Plus and No Script. I also block all third party cookies. I'm also considering adding Ghostery to the mix. This takes care of most of the trackers, cookies, ads, etc. I have not used Linux on a desktop in years, and I am yet to touch Windows 8, so I can't comment there. I also never share my location, although it's pretty braindead to find out where my IP is located anyway.

On my smartphone, I run CyanogenMod without GApps, meaning no Google account, no PlayStore, no Google Maps, etc. You get the idea. Every single app on my phone is installed from F-Droid. I have a fully functional, OSS book reader (Cool Reader), browser (Firefox with Adblock Plus), map application (rmaps), email client (k-9). So my phone is fully functional for my needs without any connection to the Google servers. As before, I never share my location which on a smartphone does make a difference.

This is pretty much what I've done to avoid Big Data without using any functionality and giving up only a bit of convenience. Any suggestions for improvements are more than welcome.

Comment Extremely wealthy person world view (Score 5, Insightful) 486

So Larry Page disclosed an ailment that quite frankly was new to me. But what are the implications of paralized vocal chords beyond being unable to speak?

Are the people surrounding him worried he may be contagoious? Is he in danger of being blamed for an unhealthy lifestyle causing his malaise? Does he face the prospect of losing his job, or being unable to find employment in the future? Is he likely to lose family or friends? I believe the answer is no to all the above questions.

But think of AIDS, certain cancers, heart disease, mental disorders and any number of afflictions that MAY be caused by personal choice. Or even if personal responsibility were not the cause, yet others would still discriminate the sufferer.

The choice of making one's problems public should ALWAYS rest with the individual. There are always reasons to shield yourself from others, and one billionaire cannot even begin to comprehend the complexity of the issue from his ivory tower.

Comment Re:safety tech (Score 1) 455

Because without having part of the vehicle visible in the convex passenger-side mirror, it's difficult to gauge distance. There's a valid reason-- no one said you have to accept it, of course.

While taking your eyes from the road, turning your head almost 90 degrees to either side is just perfect. But to reply to your point, as long as I see both headlights of the car beside me in my side mirror, it's safe to change the lane in my car. You figure out the constraints of your own vehicle, it shouldn't be that tough.

There's another gentleman that picked a nit with the same point I was trying to make, stretching the imaginary blind pot between the side and centre mirrors to infinity. Right, there could be a motorcycle hiding in there, but I can tell you for sure it will not be close enough to endanger in any way. I ride motorcycles as well, so I am completely aware how invisible we are sometimes.

Screw those people with physical disabilities, amirite? And being able to have both hands on the steering wheel is overrated! I think what we're looking for is foot-hand coordination, not hand-eye. It sounds like your argument is that it's better to have the distractions of a clutch and gearshift rather than having the car handle those functions. If that's a benefit, then why all the hubbub over people driving with phones in their hands?

I will disregard your straw man fallacy. First, people with disabilities are a special scenario and obviously have a completely different set of requirements. I am talking about the girl I met at the DMV who wrote her written test 6 or 7 time before passing it. I am talking about able bodied people who cannot muster the hand-foot coordination to tie their own shoe laces, yet carry a valid driving license.

As to the rest of your arguments, you sound like you never drove a standard transmission in your life, because outside the 2-3 seconds it takes to change gear your hands are always on the steering wheel. And you also learn never to change gears in a tight turn or when performing evasive maneuvers. After a few thousand kilometers, that granted are a bit rocky, it becomes second nature. Just like you don't consciously keep your balance while riding a bicycle, you don't even realize you're shifting gears. It is NOTHING like talking on the phone or holding a coffee in your hand. Just the fact you made that parallel makes me Internet angry.

Only douchebags drive with one hand on the wheel and the other on the gear shifter at all times, talk on their phone (handsfree or not) or text and drive.

Comment Re:safety tech (Score 2) 455

the tech I care about is safety related...I can't wait until all this stuff is standard equip

blindspot detection
lane departure
collision detection
adaptive cruise control
electronic brake distribution / ABS

Blindspot detection: I have no idea why In North America they don't teach this, but your side mirrors are PERFECT blind spot detectors. The trick is to have ZERO overlap between the cabin mirror and the side mirrors. If you see the same thing twice, you're doing it wrong. With my current setup, by the time a car beside me disappears from the side mirrors, it's already visible while looking ahead. Turning my head to check blindspots can EMA.

Lane departure: That only happens if you're distracted or falling asleep at the wheel. In either case you should NOT be driving. I have wandered out of my lane before, and a warning would have been nice, but that simply cannot take the place of being conscious behind the wheel. When you're distracted or tired you will find other ways to kill yourself.

Collision detection and adaptive cruise control: Ok, these two features I can understand. But they both use radar to gauge the distance to the car in front, and are unable to detect anything beyond that. So they are unlikely to help in highway pile-ups or similar accidents, where the car in front comes to a dead stop far quicker than your brakes can compensate. An alert driver can spot the brake lights coming on in the distance, cars swerving, dust cloud, etc (yes, I had it happen in front of me). And what concerns me is that drivers would just zone out thinking the car will do the braking for them. Still, would be helpful.

EBD/ABS: As all driver aids, they enable poor drivers to avoid minor mistakes while not giving them the tools to prevent bigger accidents. No amount of EDB and ABS will help you maintain control over your car if you start severely fishtailing or you drive too fast for the road conditions (snow or ice).

Navigation: So that in a few of years, when the built in maps are outdated, we can all read stories about the guys who drove up into the hills and froze to death. I'll stick to my foldable map and smartphone that are guaranteed to be current (as long as I buy a new map every year or so).

Speaking of safety, and knowing I'll sound like a luddite, the worst invention as far as I'm concerned is the automatic gear box. People completely lacking the hand eye coordination, with poor motor skills can drive because of it. I don't think that's a good thing. At the very least the driving exams all over the world should require a manual transmission car to pass. Afterwards you can buy whatever vehicle you want, because you proved capable of driving.

Driving is that it's a privilege, not a right. YOU are in control of a (multi)tonne vehicle that can easily kill you and others around you. Driver aids are great, but they cannot substitute for situational awareness, respect for others and yes, skill. Just watching Canada's Worst Driver is enough to make me cringe that those people hold a valid driver license, yet they somehow passed their local DMV exam.

Comment Re:Third party hacks (Score 1) 863

Windows 8 has a *lot* of under the hood improvements including I/O processes and what not. Even if you got rid of metro so that it pretty much looked exactly like Windows 7, the OS itself operates completely differently. It's faster and more secure. Do some people like Metro? Yes. Do some people dislike it? Yes. Do some people hate it for reasons that aren't really sound? Most definitely yes. Will this always happen for anything Microsoft ever does? Yes. Metro is what MS sees as the future replacement of the desktop. You can hate it or you can like it. That'll be the reaction to *any* significant change. You can't stop that. Some tech people *do* like the ribbon. Some tech people *do* like metro. The problem is, people who dislike something are almost *always* louder than people that do like something.

You may as well be right about some people liking Metro, although I'm starting to suspect they are either Microsoft shills or there's something slightly wrong with their heads. I am yet to find a single real person that I personally know that actually likes Metro, but then my sample size is somewhat small.

That said, what happens to those people who dislike Metro or the ribbon? As far as Microsoft is concerned they can stuff it. They can either use Metro and love it, or they can use Metro and hate it. Even with third party addons the Metro interface is still present in many places. Windows 9 will take the integration even further, relegating the Desktop to legacy applications.

I used to think that Microsoft was trying to unify the interface across all their devices to encourage adoption of their Windows Phone platform by leveraging their desktop market. The latest data is showing the opposite seems to be happening. Yes, part of the PC sales decline can be attributed to extended useful lives, but another part is directly related to the resistance to Metro.

What will happen is people will weigh their options. Do they continue using Windows or will they switch to a tablet, or a PC running anything but Windows? I find myself in this predicament, because one thing is certain. I will NEVER use Metro unless forced at my work place. And knowing how fast moving my industry is, I think Windows 7 will stick around for a decade or so. At home I will also keep Windows 7 around as long as new hardware drivers will be available for it. I wish I could switch to Linux, but some of the games that are very dear to me do not run very well under WINE. Although Valve may change that...

Submission + - Windows 8 killing PC sales

yl-roller writes: IDC says Windows 8 is partly to blame for PC sales suffering the largest percentage drop ever.

"As if that news wasn't' troubling enough, it appears that a pivotal makeover of Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows operating system seems to have done more harm than good since the software was released last October."

Another article said IDC originally expected a drop, but only half the size.

I think people going to buy new PCs as often as they do cars — or even refrigerators. They're appliances. Microsoft should have realized it, and innovated in a new field instead of trying to update the old stuff. Maybe it's scroogled.

Comment Jailbreaking is a real issue... (Score 0) 112

I hope Apple manages to patch every single bug that would allow jailbreaking. They had a pretty good run with the iPhone 4s and 5, clocking in at 98 days and 136 days respectively.

Too many people buy iOS devices based on the premise they'll be able to jailbreak them in order to make full use of the hardware they bought. And that rewards Apple and its walled garden model, which is beyond broken. Sadly many consumers are too complacent, lazy or stupid to care they are only renting their iPhone or iPad. In 2013 I am not buying the "It just works" mantra, because many other devices just work better. However if even a fraction of those 18 million jailbreakers had opted for more open alternative, the marketplace would look very different right now.

At the very least, it would have forced Apple to reconsider their stance on the walled garden. If say 5 million of those 18 million people did NOT buy a new iPhone, on top of those opting for Android, BB or WP anyway, Apple would leave at least at least $2.2 billion on the table for competitors*. I have a feeling though that is already happening, as Apple's growth has slowed, and their share price has plummeted in the past few months.

Since this is slashdot, I know the Nokia N900 still has a cult following. Imagine if Nokia had been rewarded for its N900 by people buying it instead of jailbreaking their iPhone 3Gs? Identical hardware specs, but sooooo many more features in a completely open garden. We may have continued to have real Linux phones, with QT apps and repositories instead of the JVM garbage we currently consider the best alternative.

* Profit margins on the iPhone 5, similar to the 4s:

Comment Thinkpads were good, but not without problems... (Score 1) 271

Let's see... I owned a T20, T23, X30, T41p, T43, T60, T60p, and a friend owned a T600e, T42, X60, X201, X220 and now X230. Of all these machines that were never abused, here are the problems:

T20 - just stopped powering up one day, when it was about 5 years old, never figured out why because by then it was not worth repairing.

X30 - LCD stopped working when the laptop was 3 years old, same as above

T41p - Ethernet flaked out, turns out the chip had desoldered and the only fixes were reflowing or new motherboard. Kept using WiFi instead

T60p - USB ports on the right side refused to work with a mouse. Lenovo provided new motherboard, two new USB daughter cards. Turns out it was either incredible bad luck with replacement parts or a design defect.

X220 - IPS screen ghosting issue

X230 - Random reboots, traced it back to the motherboard.

Yes, all the above are anecdotes, but what I am trying to say is that Thinkpads DO die or have defects. Even IBM built Thinkpads, not just Lenovo build Thinkpads. They used to be great laptops with amazing build quality in terms of fit, finish and especially keyboards. What truly set them apart, and this still holds true for HP and Lenovo business class laptops was the level of support. Every problem I had with them during the 3 year warranty period was fixed ASAP.

I still have a spare bag of screws IBM sent me when I swapped the motherboard in the T60p because their service manual specifies replacing the screws when replacing the motherboard.

All that said, I stopped buying Thinkpads with the T60p. The T61p had the infamous Nvidia G84 chip that would fall the fuck off, so I stayed away, and I moved to other manufacturers. I realized I can get better performance for the same price from Acer, Asus or especially Sager. The downside is a complete lack of support, but when you are saving hundreds of dollars on a similar machine it evens out in the end. And this is where laptop manufacturers except Apple miss out. They cannot build a high quality materials, excellent support but expensive machine when they are competing with cheap materials, little support but inexpensive machine.

I still remember fondly most of my Thinkpads, but I'm not going to give up my disposable Acer I am typing this on. It has an SB i5, GT540m, 8Gb RAM, 160Gb SSD that I picked up for $300. And it will SMOKE that brand new Thinkpad advertised in TFA in games.

Comment Nice bit of nostalgia, but mostly wrong at the end (Score 2) 102

I used dozens of Palm OS devices for close to a decade, and I can say the article is well researched but misses the mark on several very important reasons why the platform went downhill. In short, except for the very first generations of Palm OS devices, the hardware and software was never in sync, either one or the other was lacking. At the very end, both were tired and had no place in the market.

The first Palm Pilots were ground breaking devices when they came out. The premise was backing up your data to the PC and having a disposable device to access it in the field. I sat on my Palm Pilot 1000 and cracked its screen. Later that day I picked up a used Palm Pilot 5000, synced it, and was back up and running as if nothing ever happened.

That attitude started to changed when the Palm V came out. It was an iconic design, with high quality materials, extremely thin and beautiful, but it also retailed for around $700 in Canada. And the hardware had issues, like the Up key being pressed by the cover and failing over time, the glued case that made replacing the battery very difficult and expensive. Today Apple fanbois do not seem to mind, but back then this was a big deal.

The Palm V was also the last bit of hardware where Palm was ahead of the game. Every single generation after the Palm V was far behind other offerings on the market, especially the Sony Clie. I had the SJ30, NR70, NR70v, NX70, NX90 and several TH55. Absolutely beautiful devices, with high resolution screens, very long battery lives, but like the Palm V, they were EXPENSIVE. The high end models were retailing in the $700-$1000 range.

And at the end the Palm OS was really showing its age. Connecting to wifi was was slightly less painful than pulling teeth, but it did not matter because displaying a simple website took the better part of a day. Also dealing with strange file formats became tiring. Besides the organizer functions, my main use for all those devices was taking notes and reading books. There was no way to upload a text file to a Palm OS device and display it as an ebook without first converting it to PDB. In 10 years I found exactly ONE utility that could perform that function, and I still have it somewhere on my PC.

Like the author I had the chance to play with a Palm OS device I forgot I had, the Sony Clie TH55. The OS is fast, the applications load almost instantly, and it has a certain beauty in its simplicity. But then you realize it cannot do any of the things we take for granted today, and all you're left with is nostalgia.

Comment I've been using it since the beginning... (Score 4, Interesting) 302

I started off on Netscape, then Mozilla and now Seamonkey mainly because they all had a similar UI and set of features. When everybody was moving to IE6, I stuck with Netscape Communicator 4.72 for years while Mozilla was completely rewriting the code base. I think the first Mozilla I ran was M18. And when Mozilla decided to release FF as their main project, I switched to Seamonkey.

I still use an email client, so if I were to use FF or Chrome today I'd have to install two programs instead of one. There is another benefit. I always had Linux on my desktops, but not on laptops due to their weird hardware (try getting Optimus working in Linux). Mozilla and Seamonkey use the mbox file format both in Windows and Linux, so moving mail between the OSes was simple after a reinstall. Just copy over the files and you'd be done. I think Seamonkey is still the only cross platform email client.

That should be enough, but there are other reasons.

The bookmark structure in Seamonkey has remained the same since Communicator and until recently moving to a new computer was as simple as replacing an html file in the profile folder. Now it's a bit more complicated, to the extent that I have to import/export that same html file.

Seamonkey also has a lot of extra config options in the Preferences window compared to FF. In this respect FF feels completely dumbed down. I am aware FF and Seamonkey have virtually the same options in about:config, but modifying things means looking up values instead of just clicking an option.

TL;DR? I'm just too lazy to retrain my muscle memory with a new browser when I've been using Seamonkey and its predecessors for at least a decade and a half.

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