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Comment Re:The greatest W95 legacy is spread of medicority (Score 4, Insightful) 354

That's exactly what I don't miss. Regular people aren't power users. They just want things to work. If the included feature set is so deficient that they have to rely on third party software, it's more stuff they have to learn, and more work for those who help them to support.

In the DOS days I used to use Norton Commander. I felt blind without it. I'd go to work and my boss would ask to look at something on his machine, and he was an XTreeProGold guy. OK, it's a great program too, but it's like we spoke different languages. To use someone else's machine, there was always some learning curve to figure out THEIR "bag of tricks". These days I can get most everything done with the tools included with Windows. I don't want to have to rely on some "vibrant marketplace", everything I really need is consistently included on any Windows machine I touch.

Power users are a different breed. Linux seems to offer exactly that "vibrant", choice-filled competitive atmosphere you're looking for. Seems like an OS that would fit you better.

Comment Re: 15? (Score 4, Informative) 354

The key difference is that Windows 95 did not use DOS to access the hard drive. It had its own 32 bit disk manager. DOS's file access provisions went dormant once the system booted as long as an appropriate driver was available. If no driver was available, you'd have an exclamation point in control panel, and very bad performance. Fraxinus is spot on - DOS was still there, but was relegated to being a bootloader and recovery console.

Comment Re:The problem... (Score 4, Interesting) 195

My new car has exactly that feature. If a car ahead of me stops abruptly, it flashes a red car on the HUD well in advance. The timing is the key, the couple of times it has happened, the car "saw" the obstacle VERY early, giving me plenty of time to stop. It happens very rarely, such that if that warning is up, you know it's important to be alert. It's pretty intuitive and really doesn't distract as it's complementary to what I've hopefully already been looking at. It's also small and low in your field of view, so it doesn't block your view of traffic. The car will also apply the brakes itself to avoid a crash.

TFA shows a red car with a green arrow directing the driver to go around. I can definitely see how that might be too much in an emergency situation, particularly if you aren't trained on how to interpret and respond to that alert. My "red car icon" is more of a "HEY! WAKE UP!" and mostly leaves the avoidance decisions up to me. I could see more complex HUD alerts like in the TFA also being beneficial, but requiring training, so less time is needed to understand and react to the alert.

I don't think TFA's controlled tests are representative enough of how mature drivers drive. We practically drive on auto-pilot most of the time. The alerts are really helpful at getting you to focus when you need to, if your mind wanders a bit because you're making the same drive you've driven hundreds times before.

Comment Re:Comcast and Time Warner, a match made in . . . (Score 3, Informative) 112

That part kind of got me too, shouldn't all deals subject to regulatory approval be structured where they could walk away? Wouldn't anything else be outright flaunting in the face of regulation?

I think he meant walk away without significant impact. For example, the AT&T/T-Mobile deal failure had very serious repercussions for AT&T. From Wikipedia:

"Deutsche Telekom will receive $3 billion in cash as well as access to $1 billion worth of AT&T-held wireless spectrum."

Comment Good article (Score 1) 496

The author did a good job of outlining what worked for him. I also lost about 40 lbs over the last year (from 190lbs down to 150 now, which is a good weight for me). I've held around 150-152 for the last 3 months or so and feel great.

For me, it's less about the diet and more about the exercise. For me the key was making my health my own #1 priority. I had to make time for myself to go the gym. I had to stop putting work, or spending time with my significant other/family/friends/pets ahead of my gym schedule. I also learned to stop depending on others - having a gym buddy or going to class with a friend is great, but at the end of the day you need to go whether they do or don't.

Yes, I watched what I ate, and yes, I looked at the calorie counts to roughly budget, but I never kept logs of how many calories I was eating over a week. I'd just weigh myself once in a while to ensure I was still progressing. For me, I found the more I exercised, the more I naturally wanted healthier foods. Something like a donut or a dessert seemed revolting after spending a couple hours cycling. As with his calorie intake needing to be reduced has he progressed, if you keep working out, your ability to burn more calories increases along with your stamina. I can easily knock out 800 calories in a spin class now.

Find healthy foods and forms of exercise that you actually enjoy so you can keep the weight off. My breakfast/snack of choice is now greek yogurt, and I've found that I have a great time taking group fitness classes.

Comment Re:Two options (Score 1) 466

WFWG will do file transfers fine, just remember to enable the NetBEUI protocol on XP, because WFWG doesn't natively speak TCP/IP.

Failing that I'd probably try to get laplink (DOS has a built in version called INTERLNK/INTERSVR) going against a more modern machine with a real parallel port. The disk might get interesting (remember you need a FAT32 volume and DOS 7.1 or later). A USB stick might actually work if the BIOS presents it to DOS as a fixed disk.

Comment Re:The big thing that is missing (Score 1) 631

Local loop unbundling only made sense for traditional DSL since there is typically a dedicated pair of wires back to the CO that some other company can tap into and truly provide better service. With Time Warner Cable, or even AT&T VDSL (U-verse FTTN), there's a lot of shared infrastructure between your home and the central office. That makes the prospect of "unbundling" the infrastructure from the provider less technically feasible.

In both cases there are already choices of ISPs: Earthlink Cable, and DSLExtreme TrueStream. The choice, however, is mostly an illusion. If the connectivity sucks, "having a choice of ISPs" doesn't really do you a damn bit of good, you're actually renting the same connectivity you would have had from the incumbent provider. Speeds and pricing (the things you really want competition for) are also pretty much dictated by the incumbent. About the only thing it's good for is the possibility of improved customer service or add-on services like email servers. With the incumbent taking the lion's share of the profit, those improvements tend not to be so great anyway.

With old telephone infrastructure not able to keep pace with old cable infrastructure, we're facing a true monopoly. We need to encourage deployment of new fiber infrastructure or other alternatives. I'm afraid making existing companies share their aging infrastructure isn't going to be very fruitful.

Comment Taping over switches is doing it wrong (Score 1) 248

In a proper home automation setup, the light switches are replaced with smart switches. This leaves the simplicity of turning lights off at the switch in place, but adds the ability for remote control.

I've had a "smart home" for many years, and it takes a long time to figure out which aspects of having a smart home are actually useful in practice. While most of the lights in my home can be controlled remotely, I only control a small number of them from my phone on a regular basis. For the most part, I've found that I want automation around switches that are not likely to be in convenient locations. For example, I commonly use my smart interface to shut off my back porch light, because I often forget when I go to bed, and it's way easier than running downstairs. I also use various climate controls (thermostat, ceiling fan) a lot. Light switches in the same room that you're occupying, not so much - it's faster to just walk to the switch and flip it than pull the interface up from a controller.

Automatic timers and sensors I've found to be a mixed bag. They work well until you want to "override" whatever behavior they're doing automatically. For example, I have an automatic sensor that turns on my hallway lights to a dim setting if I approach it at night time, so I can see at night. That automation is helpful 95% of the time, but the other 5% I may want to turn the lights on bright and leave them on. I don't have an easy intuitive way to tell my automation to stop trying to show the dim light without pulling out my smartphone.

My hot tub is probably the best example of where my automation really shines. I can turn it on remotely so it's ready for use by the time I get home. Once I'm home, I can control everything about it from one screen - I can turn the filter pump on/off, turn the heater on, turn the light on, and turn the outdoor speakers on, even fill the water up if it's low, all from one place. Doing those things manually otherwise requires going to many different places and getting into weatherproof boxes to access the manual switches.

I think lighting control, in general, is the least useful part of my home automation setup, despite it being the most iconic.

Comment Re:Another silly decision (Score 1) 480

buying a home. Hasn't made sense since the 1970s. The social contract is broken, you no longer can rely on job security or a decent pension. Yet the banks still expect you to pay them on time. A home is a *liability*, not an investment.

Landlords expect you to pay them on time, too.

I bought a home in 1998. It's paid off now and worth over double what I paid for it. Somehow, I'm just not regretting my silly decision to buy.

Comment Re:Probably just holding it wrong (Score 1) 120

Alternate option would be that people with issues aren't using official Apple® AirPort® Extreme® wireless stations.

Nope. I can say first hand the issue happens with an Apple® Time Capsule®. Issue started with Yosemite. The wifi randomly (but infrequently) decides to disconnect and just stays idle with a grayed out signal indicator. It reconnects fine if you just click on the network from the list, but at the VERY least, OSX should try to search for, and connect to known wifi networks when the current one becomes disconnected. It doesn't do that, it seems like the whole process for managing the wifi connection just falls asleep.

Comment Re:No Custom Building? (Score 1) 68

This isn't too far off of what a lot of the virtual pinball cab folks are doing to add light shows and other toys alongside their virtual pinball machine (currently controlled by emulated ROM). They've designed whole APIs that abstract hardware (arduino, cheap Sainsmart USB relays, LEDWiz, etc) from lighting commands and macros. It could be used with any combination of lighting controllers. There is a lot of off-the-shelf hardware that is designed for this purpose, including the amplifiers you can use to control more power hungry arrays of lights.

For the software that runs it, see the DOF project:

Notice how it has a bunch of built in effects - that would be perfectly suited to this. It would probably be very trivial to modify this project to trigger off time codes instead of the ROM solenoid requests that it currently looks for to activate a sequence.

Comment Re:Car Jukebox.... (Score 1) 269

> Bluetooth works but it sucks for music quality and you only have rudimentary controls on the head unit.

I've seen bluetooth interfaces that support what looks like the full iPod interface (playlist selection, listing tracks within playlist). There are also bluetooth profiles that allow an iPod to just send an AAC stream to the head unit for decoding. So I think both of those concerns are mostly solved unless you need lossless quality audio.

There's actually a gizmo that almost provides a bluetooth-to-iPod interface with full playlist selection support and whatnot, and supposedly it uses one of the higher quality audio profiles

Comment Re:Great. More touchscreens. (Score 1) 233

well, there is one component that is pretty standard and easilly upgradable, the stereo. I just purchased a used car (2008 miata). The stereo came with a 30 pin ipod connector tucked in the glovebox. Ive outfitted it with the required lighting adapter to work with my phone, but i wouldn't mind having a modern stereo that can do bluetooth. The upgrade might be painless, but there's one big issue: THIEVES. The big selling point of the kind of crummy factory stereo is it's good enough and nobody is going to want to steal it.

There's an app, I mean, a product for that!

And yes, you raise a great point about thieves. When I used to use aftermarket radios I was always stressed about them being stolen. These days I just use aftermarket speakers / amps with the factory head units.

Comment Re:Great. More touchscreens. (Score 1) 233

Hey Detroit - stop trying. Give up. Let Apple/Android/[new startup] give me the tech I want. If you want to get fancy, give the phone a read-only API to the car's status.

You're right that the interface is probably better left to Apple and Google. Cars used to have standard din and "double-din" spots for radios. Thing is, Detroit isn't the only one dong a horrible job. The third party junk from the usual suspects (Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, etc.) is even worse. Last year we bought a new Pioneer AVIC-X930BT for a 2004 truck. The online reviews on it were generally favorable but I'm blown away by how terrible it is compared to say, the basic system in a Chevy Cruze rent-a-car.

1) The device takes about 30 seconds to boot up when you start the truck. It's apparently based on Windows CE.
2) Once it boots, it then takes another 30 seconds or so for it to initialize bluetooth.
3) Once bluetooth is initialized and connected, it goes through another "connecting" process to connect to bluetooth audio, but it will not automatically start playing music. You have to manually press the play button after it "un-grays out". If you're driving on a short trip you're probably halfway to your destination now.
4) It supports USB sticks too. After the boot process it always re-scans the entire memory stick. If you have a lot of songs it takes about a minute before the music starts playing.

Seriously, does Pioneer not do any usability testing?

It has all kinds of other gimmickry, including "AppRadio" that's supposed to let you use your phone's interface as an app but it's so clunky we'd never, ever use it.

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