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Comment: It's a 68008, as used in... (Score 1) 147

by Ed Avis (#48441023) Attached to: Linux On a Motorola 68000 Solder-less Breadboard
In fact this is not the 68000 but its crippled little brother the 68008, which uses an 8-bit external data bus (as the 8088 is to the 8086). That was also used in the Sinclair QL, which was Linus's first computer before he bought a 386 PC and got into Minix. Could Linux now be ported to run on the QL?

Comment: Re:Will take years to tackle Oracle crown (Score 1) 102

by Ed Avis (#48376683) Attached to: Amazon Goes After Oracle (Again) With New Aurora Database
Don't SAP have their own RDBMS, called SAP DB or MaxDB? It was even released as free software a few years back (then they changed their mind and went back to proprietary). Do you mean that despite that, the only database backend that works well with large SAP installations is Oracle?

Comment: Re:Could have been worse (Score 5, Interesting) 236

by Ed Avis (#48324793) Attached to: CNN Anchors Caught On Camera Using Microsoft Surface As an iPad Stand

In terms of sheer numbers, I'd guess you are right: more Win32 applications have been written since 1995 or so than there are apps for iOS. Especially if you include in-house software.

In terms of applications to do something most people want to do, which is a subjective measure I admit, iOS may have the lead. Particularly so if you look for software that's optimized for tablet use: there are a lot of very capable Windows programs which are rather less usable on a tablet than with a physical keyboard and mouse, whereas iOS apps are all designed around touchscreen use.

For example, I've been looking for a map program (similar to Google Maps) that runs on a handheld Windows 7 PC with attached GPS. It's surprising how few choices there are that do the basic function of showing your GPS position on a map, and aren't some crusty thing last updated in 2004. True, if I included Windows 8 "Metro" apps there would be a wider choice, but still it is dwarfed by what you get on Android or iOS. (FTR - in the end I went with Anquet Maps for hiking maps and Mapfactor PC-Navigator for city use.)

Comment: Re:One line? (Score 3, Insightful) 169

by Ed Avis (#48234803) Attached to: Tetris Is Hard To Test
It's analogous to testing itself. Testing cannot prove the absence of bugs, though it can find them. Similarly a coverage check cannot show that your test suite is adequate, but it can show it to be inadequate (or perhaps reveal dead code to prune). Nobody is claiming that coverage is the be all and end all of testing. That does not mean it is useless to measure it.

Comment: Re:The Model F is even better (Score 1) 304

by Ed Avis (#48101467) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made
Yup, the PC-AT keyboard has the one true enter key in the large reverse L shape. After that things went downhill: the US layout for the Model M chopped off the top part and made Enter a thin horizontal line like Shift, and the international or ISO layout (which I normally use) chopped off the left hand part and left Enter as a rectangle: better than the US version, but still too small for one of the most frequently used keys on the board.

The biggest annoyance with the AT keyboard is the lack of F11 and F12 keys, if your applications use those (e.g. to step into statements in a debugger). The Esc key being on the numeric keypad is also odd but you get used to that.

There's also the 122-key Model F 'aircraft carrier', which has a much more modern layout, close to the international Model M layout.

But if you do prefer the US Model M layout (de gustibus non est disputandum, after all), then here's a way to modify the PC-AT keyboard: http://geekhack.org/index.php?...

Comment: Re:I love Model Ms. I still have two of them. (Score 1) 304

by Ed Avis (#48100703) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made
I have never heard of a Model M keyboard damaging a computer when plugged into the PS/2 keyboard port. After all, the PS/2 keyboard port is specifically designed for PS/2 keyboards, and the Model M is like the reference implementation. When driven over USB using an adaptor, it is true that a Model M will require more current than a newer keyboard, but still within the USB spec.

Comment: Re:I love Model Ms. I still have two of them. (Score 2) 304

by Ed Avis (#48093377) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made
Recycle them? Noooo! Please tell us you at least gave them to a thrift store or sold them on Ebay. FWIW, the recommended PS/2 to USB adaptor is called the 'blue cube' and works well with the Model M. There's also Soarer's Converter which you can build yourself with a Teensy programmable microcontroller, and handles a wide range of old keyboards including the M.

Comment: The Model F is even better (Score 3, Informative) 304

by Ed Avis (#48093249) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made
Model Ms are great. I have about a dozen of them. But the earlier Model F (based on capacitive switches underneath buckling spring) is even better. The Model F keyboard included with the original IBM PC excels in being heavy and clicky, but it has an awkward layout. The PC-AT introduced a much better layout, and the keyboard is electrically compatible with the later PS/2 plug (you just need a $2 adaptor). I am typing on a PC-AT keyboard now.

Comment: Re:DPI Scaling (Score 1) 204

by Ed Avis (#47878311) Attached to: Dell Demos 5K Display
Have you tried Windows's DPI scaling? I am using Windows 7 with 200% font size and it works well. Before that I used Windows XP and that worked almost as well. To get a usable scaled display, pick exactly 200% so that if icons have to be scaled up they do so cleanly - I agree that odd multiples like 150% can look ugly. Next, make sure Aero is turned off and switch back to a 'classic' theme. The scaling is set in Control Panel -> Display -> Set custom text size (DPI). I use this at work and PuTTY, Firefox, Microsoft Office and sundry other tools all work fine. The only things which don't scale, annoyingly, are the command prompt window and Remote Desktop.

Comment: Re:In other news: Are 4K displays worth getting ye (Score 1) 204

by Ed Avis (#47861025) Attached to: Dell Demos 5K Display
It depends what you do. For text-based workflow (Emacs, web browsing, possibly an IDE) 30Hz is fine. I've even gone as low as 12Hz refresh (on an early model IBM T221 connected to a laptop with only a single DVI output) and it was usable. Tip: if you do end up with 30Hz, Nvidia cards let you turn off vsync. This seems to speed up refresh a bit, making the mouse pointer smoother.

Comment: Re:In other news: Are 4K displays worth getting ye (Score 1) 204

by Ed Avis (#47850683) Attached to: Dell Demos 5K Display
FWIW, at work I use 24" 4k monitors with 200% font scaling on Windows 7, and pretty much every application works fine. The only thing which doesn't scale is the command prompt window. Note that I am talking about the old font size selector in Control Panel which has been there for years and years - the first thing to do is to turn off all of that Aero crap.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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