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Comment: Re:Wow so negative here (Score 1) 207

by hackertourist (#48937987) Attached to: Latest Windows 10 Preview Build Brings Slew of Enhancements

If you don't know their name then are you just reading them all and hoping on jogs your memory?

Yes. Categories help, and once I see the name, recognition is usually instant.

How exactly do you go about this on other platforms currently?

In OS X, the Applications folder is one click away. Not ideal, I'd rather have a menu with all of my applications (and I used to have that in OS 9).

You're forgetting that there's not just one Start Menu folder in Windows, there are two: one user-specific and one for all users. So two locations to scan. Are you seriously suggesting this is a good replacement for the Start menu?

Comment: Re:Wow so negative here (Score 1) 207

by hackertourist (#48930609) Attached to: Latest Windows 10 Preview Build Brings Slew of Enhancements

Having a mouse and clicking around a GUI browsing for files was the most gimmicky, mouth-breather way of launching programs that added nothing for users. If you want something then just type it, it's faster than hunting ...

Sure, it's faster for the programs you use often enough that you remember their name. That's maybe 20 out of the 200 programs I've installed. Many of those I need twice a year, and searching them by name doesn't work because I can't remember what they're called. I do know I filed them somewhere in Programs->XML tools (or one of a few categories I've set up and that make sense for me). Accessible via one click and a bit of moving the mouse around (in XP or with Classic Start Menu installed), or more clicking and scrolling (in Windows 7). Windows 7 was a regression in this regard, and Windows 8 threw my method under the bus.

Different strokes for different folks. I like the Search option, but for the love of God don't make it the only option.

Comment: Re:Wow so negative here (Score 1) 207

by hackertourist (#48923899) Attached to: Latest Windows 10 Preview Build Brings Slew of Enhancements

I, for one, like new things if, and only if, they are an improvement over the old things. That's why I use a computer in the first place: to improve my life and make things easier. Anything that gets in the way of that gets the vitriol poured on.

For something as fundamental as the UI, I have a substantial investment in the old way of doing things. Throwing that away means I have to start learning again, and it'll take a while to get up to the same speed I had with the old UI. This is all wasted time, so the new UI has to be a lot better than the old one to make a switch worthwhile.
Many of the UI changes in Windows have not been improvements at all. Instead MS seemingly randomly moved things around (Control Panel), or they removed functionality (Start screen). So yes, we consider this change for change's sake. I, for one, would welcome some actual improvements instead.

There's also the alienation factor. A new UI feels as if people have broken into my home and rearranged things.

Comment: Drawbacks of external HD backup (Score 1) 250

by hackertourist (#48917805) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

If you backup to an external HD and then stick it in a safe, chances are you won't back up very often: your backup routine contains manuals steps you have to remember/set reminders for.
Also, this HD is used only occasionally, and in my experience that's not a recipe for high reliability: I tried using HDs this way (accessing them only once every few months), and of my limited sample, pretty much every one broke down in a few years. Exacerbating factors: flaky USB enclosures (the tiniest nudge of the connector and it'd interrupt the connection, potentially corrupting the drive) and stiction.
I'd want to carefully monitor the backup drive, reading back what it wrote to make sure the backup matches the source. I'd also want to read the entire drive at regular intervals to pick up signs of trouble at an early stage.
I've got an excellent program (Watchdrives) from a fellow Slashdotter that does this for my main drive: reading the drive using dd in a low-priority process, so that the entire drive gets read once every ~2 months.


Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble 124

Posted by timothy
from the world-of-unlimited-resources dept.
Required Snark writes NASA has funded a study of a geo-sychrounous orbit telescope that uses a half-mile diameter opaque disk to provide images with 1000 times the resolution of the Hubble. It uses diffraction at the edge of the disk to focus light, resulting in a very high quality image. It's named the Aragoscope, after the scientist Francois Arago, who first noticed how a disk affects light waves. "When deployed the Aragoscope will consist of an opaque disk a half mile in diameter parked in geostationary orbit behind which is an orbiting telescope keeping station some tens to hundreds of miles behind that collects the light at the focal point and rectifies it into a high-resolution image. 'The opaque disk of the Aragoscope works in a similar way to a basic lens,' says CU-Boulder doctoral student and team member Anthony Harness. 'The light diffracted around the edge of the circular disk travels the same path length to the center and comes into focus as an image.' He added that, since image resolution increases with telescope diameter, being able to launch such a large, yet lightweight disk would allow astronomers to achieve higher-resolution images than with smaller, traditional space telescopes."

Comment: Does it preserve my workspace yet? (Score 1) 376

by hackertourist (#48912401) Attached to: Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

The single biggest gripe I have with Windows is that I frequently lose state: I usually have lots of programs and files open. When a Windows update requires a reboot, I lose all of this so I have to spend time reopening apps, finding which files I was working on and reopening them.

Apple has figured this out for OS X, and Microsoft planned it as a feature of Windows 7. I've seen no mention of this for Windows 10. What's keeping them so long?


Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret 820

Posted by timothy
from the mazda-puts-it-right-up-front dept. writes Stomp on the gas in a new Ford Mustang or F-150 and you'll hear a meaty, throaty rumble — the same style of roar that Americans have associated with auto power and performance for decades. Now Drew Harwell reports at the Washington Post that the auto industry's dirty little secret is that the engine growl in some of America's best-selling cars and trucks is actually a finely tuned bit of lip-syncing, boosted through special pipes or digitally faked altogether. "Fake engine noise has become one of the auto industry's dirty little secrets, with automakers from BMW to Volkswagen turning to a sound-boosting bag of tricks," writes Harwell. "Without them, today's more fuel-efficient engines would sound far quieter and, automakers worry, seemingly less powerful, potentially pushing buyers away." For example Ford sound engineers and developers worked on an "Active Noise Control" system on the 2015 Mustang EcoBoost that amplifies the engine's purr through the car speakers. Afterward, the automaker surveyed members of Mustang fan clubs on which processed "sound concepts" they most enjoyed.

Among purists, the trickery has inspired an identity crisis and cut to the heart of American auto legend. The "aural experience" of a car, they argue, is an intangible that's just as priceless as what's revving under the hood. "For a car guy, it's literally music to hear that thing rumble," says Mike Rhynard, "It's a mind-trick. It's something it's not. And no one wants to be deceived." Other drivers ask if it really matters if the sound is fake? A driver who didn't know the difference might enjoy the thrum and thunder of it nonetheless. Is taking the best part of an eight-cylinder rev and cloaking a better engine with it really, for carmakers, so wrong? "It may be a necessary evil in the eyes of Ford," says Andrew Hard, "but it's sad to think that an iconic muscle car like the Mustang, a car famous for its bellowing, guttural soundtrack, has to fake its engine noise in 2015. Welcome to the future."

Comment: Re:Time for a UNION! (Score 1) 263

by hackertourist (#48875477) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

That's a solution only if you accept the drawbacks of being a contractor. Suddenly you have to do acquisition, you're a business so your taxes get 10x more complicated (e.g. VAT), etc.

We're seeing some industries moving towards an all-contractor model over here (.nl). Postal delivery and the building trade for instance. Some contractors do well for themselves, but there's a large number of them subsisting below the poverty line. As a contractor they're no longer protected by employment laws so they get screwed over no end. Especially in the building slump of the past few years people were agreeing to work for a pittance, not realizing the consequences in time. And if they don't get a contract, they're business owners so not eligible for unemployment benefits either. Meanwhile the contract prices are under pressure as workers from low-wage countries migrate here and accept conditions that result in a wage that is livable in their home country, but not here.
This is a gigantic poverty trap, and an end run around employment law and the unions by building companies. IMO a service/contract culture is not something we should wish for.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.