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Comment: Re:WTF (Score 1) 195

by cskrat (#45921675) Attached to: Tesla Sending New Wall-Charger Adapters After Garage Fire
While I assert that the GMO wheat in my company's bread did not cause your child to born with 12 toes. It is worth $200,000 to us to not find out if a jury will be composed of my peers or yours.

Because all aspects of this settlement may also be found "interesting" by local and national news organizations, we will also make a lot of noise about researching the health risks of all ingredients that will result in 2 point font warnings on our product labels.

Comment: Re:39" display for workstations? (Score 1) 520

by cskrat (#45921513) Attached to: 4K Is For Programmers
That's like saying "I never use my oven and stove burners at the same time so I don't really *need* 50 amp wiring and breakers going to my range." That will not end well, especially when your mother in law comes over to help with dinner, and all you'll get for your efforts is the cost of doing the job twice.

If a component *can* use a certain amount of power then you must be able to supply that power (plus an engineering tolerance if you don't like tempting fate). I've heard my video card fans spin up for Silverlight and Flash videos. My CPU fans spin up whenever I switch projects in VS. What would happen if I changed projects while channel9.msdn.com was running if the peak output of my PSU was set for median use of my system?

Comment: Re:Gaze-specific focal plane and depth of field? (Score 1) 102

by cskrat (#45861011) Attached to: Eye Tracking Coming To Video Games
As someone who has learned to consciously adjust eye focus due to severe astigmatism, I second that focal depth is the big missing piece in 3D technology.

However, I'm not sure if that form of artificial focal depth will enhance the illusion or create more potent migraine material for someone in my position.

Comment: Re:Why not... (Score 1) 333

by cskrat (#45616493) Attached to: China Prefers Sticking With Dying Windows XP To Upgrading
Would my web servers be more secure if I airgapped a couple NT 3.51 boxes and set the passwords to password1234?

Right now I'm running Apache on Linux with a single login account protected by a 2048 bit RSA key that can su to root with a 32 character password.

Just looking for an expert opinion.

Comment: Re:Microsoft is running out of milk cows (Score 1) 333

by cskrat (#45616253) Attached to: China Prefers Sticking With Dying Windows XP To Upgrading
I never had professional experience with 3.1 as I was still in middle school when it came out, so I can't really speak from experience on the networking woes therein. That said, I have no reason to believe that an OS that uses cooperative multitasking would be anything but nightmarish to network. But I did say that most of the improvements in Windows over the last 20+ years were under the hood.

My main argument there was referring to the differences between the typical PC owner then and now as well as the different pace of changes in the industry. Back then, we didn't have Facebook, Candy Crush and Skype to draw in the general masses. A larger percentage of PC users then were techies, early adopters, and people that would later become slashdotters. Also, this was a time when PC systems were obsoleted by newer hardware by the time the shrink wrap hit the landfill (some hyperbole there but not much). After replacing an aging 25MHz 486SX with a 100MHz DX4 and then turning around a year later and buying a Pentium 166, you just kinda roll with the OS change as being part of the new system.

I agree that they dropped the ball on the Win 8 UI. I think it will continue improve as it did with 8.1. From my development experience, and I could be wrong, it looks like many of its sins are the result of interference from an executive that nobody is allowed to say 'no' to. It struck me as odd that as soon as Balmer started packing his desk MS reversed course on several design decisions regarding the XBOne and they opened up 8.1 to MSDN subscribers for early access. But that could just be coincidence.

Currently, their server OS and desktop OS are basically different builds/configurations of the same NT code base; it only makes sense that they would use it again for a tablet/phone OS. This is especially true if you remember the results of the Windows CE line, particularly as applied to earlier "smart" phones. Basing Windows tablets and phones on the NT core for 8 was the right idea with a poorly thought out implementation.

All in all, I'd wager on Windows 9 (or whatever it will be called) fixing the bad, and possibly forced by executive fiat, UI decisions in 8.

Comment: Re:Microsoft is running out of milk cows (Score 1) 333

by cskrat (#45611375) Attached to: China Prefers Sticking With Dying Windows XP To Upgrading
Another part of the good old days was that since everything was new the users were early adopters by definition. They weren't as strongly committed to the specifics of a given piece of software.

Moving from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 was at least as much UI change as going from XP straight to 8, skipping Vista and 7. If we made that exact same transition after people spent the better part of a decade getting familiar with 3.1, we would have the same "it was good enough" arguments.

The truth, though, 3.1 wasn't good enough; it was built with hard coded assumptions about the limits of computer hardware, limits that were rapidly changing at the time. 95/98(se)/ME weren't good enough; they were attempts to extend the legacy DOS architecture well beyond it's original purpose. Stability on that line went to hell by the time ME came about. Windows 2000 (a.k.a. NT 5.0) was meant for business users and extended to add consumer friendly features with XP (a.k.a. NT 5.1). Those weren't good enough either. How many people can close their eyes and easily picture a Win XP BSOD? If you're worried about getting work done, I hope you remember to save frequently. Vista wasn't good enough, it was a fresh refactor to the NT 6.x kernel and showed signs of being rushed out the door at the end.

Windows 7 and its counterpart Server 2008R2 (both a.k.a NT 6.1) were good enough at the time but two big things drove the push to Win 8/ Server 2012. On the consumer side, MS is looking at a booming tablet market full of consumers that just want a device to consume media, not create it; Windows 7 is not a suitable tablet OS and developing a wholly separate OS for mobile/tablet would be a massive waste of resources. On the server side there is a big push toward virtualization, cloud computing or whatever you want to call it. The consumer side brought us the Metro UI which has caused nearly all the backlash over Win 8 while the server side brought us things like a type-1 hypervisor included in the base OS and a kernel that can handle changes to the amount of physical memory visible on the fly.

Windows 8/ Server 2012 aren't cash grabs resulting from MS assuming people will flock to buy anything new they release, they exist as solutions to use cases that weren't considered in Win 7/ 2008R2. Apple would be the company that makes that assumption with their "One more thing..." announcements and OS service packs bearing price tags.

Throughout the history of Windows the biggest changes have been under the hood. How many of the people above that can picture an XP BSOD know, first hand, that the Win 8 BSOD was completely redesigned? I've seen it only once during an experiment in overclocking. Now consider that XP was much more stable than any of the 9x/ME versions before it. Every step of the way were people that cried "but it was good enough!" but I, personally, would rather *get work done* on Win 8 where my system uptime is mostly determined by the local power company. I can adjust myself to a new UI after a week or two of exploration; a price I'm happily paying to avoid losing whatever I'm working on to some random IRQ Not Less Than or Equal bug.

The UI has only gone through two big changes, 3.1 > 95 and 7 > 8 (I'm ignoring 1.0 and 2.0 because they never gained mass popularity). Over the next several iterations we'll see the same tweaking that went into the 95 through 7 UI, i.e. change the colors, add curves, rearrange the menu, tone down the colors, make it look like glass, bigger icons and ditch the curves. We've already seen the first iteration with 8.1 restoring the start icon and allowing multiple metro apps on different monitors. Then, when everyone thinks that Metro is "good enough" MS will create something completely different to respond to a form factor or use case that has not been imagined or invented yet.

And the masses will whine and complain again. So goes the circle of tech.

Comment: Re:Microsoft is running out of milk cows (Score 1) 333

by cskrat (#45609441) Attached to: China Prefers Sticking With Dying Windows XP To Upgrading
I have the G700S for my desktop and a M510 for my laptop.

The G700 works well as a desktop/gaming mouse. The battery life is a bit weak in wireless mode, you can get somewhere between 12 and 16 hours on a charge, but you can always plug the cord in at any time to turn it into a wired mouse. You don't have to explain to your guild that you need to bow out mid raid to recharge or run to the store for batteries. As an added bonus, the cord also fits any micro-usb cell phone for charging or sync.

The M510 is not rechargeable but works as smoothly as a $20-30 wired and will last about 6 months or more on a pair of AAs.

I think Logitech has the whole wireless mouse problem "solved" at the moment.

Comment: Re:Use Amazon (Score 4, Informative) 219

by cskrat (#44922573) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Prioritizing Saleable Used Computer Books?
Assuming you have a smartphone of some sort, Amazon actually has an app that does most of the work for you. Especially if you want help from co-workers/volunteers/etc. that might not know the difference between "Learn Excel 20xx in 24 Hours" and "Code Complete 2nd Ed.".

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.pricecheck

If it sells for a penny, pulp it.
If it sells for a dollar, give it away.
If it sells for more, sell it.

Or whatever thresholds you like.

Comment: Re:DRM worked out then.. (Score 2) 464

by cskrat (#41090883) Attached to: Ubisoft Claims PC Piracy Rate of 93-95%
Ubisoft lost me as a customer with Starforce on Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory. I bought the game and was never able to play it. By the time the cracks were out I had moved on.
Blizzard lost me with Diablo 3, due to service outages preventing me from playing initially and then their stance of blaming me for not buying an authenticator fob when my account gets hacked. 10 years on SOE and my account stayed safe. 2 weeks on Blizzard and I'm robbed of every ounce of gold my level 10 character had collected.

So let's look at the other side. I have a Steam account worth more than my car (granted, it's a crappy car) and every game that I purchased on Steam is playable (though Dirt 3 gets a bit annoying with the whole Games for Windows LIVE thing). Valve doesn't add any significant DRM to their software other than the basic limitation of not being able to play the same game on the same account in more than one location at a time; a limitation that can be bypassed by putting one machine in offline mode. No hacking, cracking or torrenting to get a purchased game to work.

Valve, as a company, has an estimated value of ~$3B; Ubisoft has a market cap of $0.6B. Valve may have the right idea about combating piracy by adding value rather than restricting use. I think it's very possible that the game companies that stay on the bleeding edge (their customers' blood, not their own) of DRM technology are actually caught up in a feedback loop where the DRM hurts legitimate sales so the piracy ratio goes up causing them to add more DRM to exacerbate the problem further.
China

Independent Audit Finds Foxconn Violates Chinese Work Rules 315

Posted by samzenpus
from the history-repeating dept.
doston writes "The first independent audit of Apple's supply chain found excessive working hours and health and safety issues at its largest manufacturer, piling more pressure on the technology giant. This investigation targeted Hon Hai Precision Industry which is known as Foxconn. The company says they will try to stop their overtime criminality by July, 2013. Will the public ever sour on Apple devices in light of the constant media attention on supplier working conditions?"
Japan

Japan Creates Earthquake-Proof Levitating House System 243

Posted by samzenpus
from the rising-above dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Japanese company Air Danshin Systems Inc. has developed an innovative system that levitates houses in the in the event of an earthquake to protect them from structural damage. When an earthquake hits, a sensor responds within one second by activating a compressor, which forces an incredible amount of air under the home, pushing the structure up and apart from its foundation. The air pressure can keep the home levitating up to 3cm from the shaking foundation below. In the wake of last year's Fukushima disaster the company is set to install the levitation system in 88 houses across Japan."

Premature optimization is the root of all evil. -- D.E. Knuth

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