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Comment: Racal RA-17L (Score 1) 690

by knarf (#46795957) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

All you young whippersnappers with your model-M keyboards (of which I happen to sport some as well) can bow to the supreme longevity of the Racal RA-17L here on the farm which still hums/hisses/squeaks/whines/bleeps/blurps happily along after 60 years. Still using the original valves (that is tubes for you 'merricuns) as well. Valves? Yes, valves. Next to the cockroaches and model-M keyboards these boat anchors will rule the earth after the apocalypse. Not that there'll be much to listen to by then, maybe a pulsar clicking somewhere or a funny noise made by a solar flare?

Comment: Re:Form factor (Score 3, Insightful) 97

by knarf (#46616985) Attached to: What Apple's iWatch Can Learn From Pebble

No, it isn't. There is a reason I never replaced that watch I lost somewhere on a mountain in Switzerland - I always had to take the thing off because it was in the way. From building to logging to working the land on the farm to fixing the tractor to repairing the $random_piece_of_electronics to $insert_random_activity, the first thing I usually did was take of the watch and put it somewhere out of the way, both to save it from grievous harm as well as to save my arm from the results of getting the thing trapped in some piece of machinery.

Maybe watches work for desk jockeys? In that case it might be the ultimate form factor for *some* of the target group for wearable electronics, but not for everyone.

The optimal form factor for wearable electronics is a neural implant. Just don't forget the spam filter...

Comment: Re:Globalization (Score 1) 198

by knarf (#46596505) Attached to: Russian Officials Dump iPads For Samsung Tablets Over Spy Fears

Russia has plenty of resources to create their own Android distribution for whatever piece of hardware they want. They have the resources to reverse-engineer any blobs, aside from the fact that there is a less than zero chance that they already have all the data on those devices through their own version of the NSA. Your reaction implies that they'd run whatever Samsung decided to install on those tablets. That is of course a silly assumption, for many reasons.

Comment: Luddite view, maybe, but... (Score 1) 323

I might have a somewhat luddite view on this subject, but for me the whole concept of canned visual entertainment has failed. Since it has failed, I have given up on it. I can't remember the last movie I saw, I only know it was a long... time ago - many years. I do remember some movies from before that time which somehow managed to get stuck so I can not state unequivocally that movies are not worth the celluloid they used to be printed on but the industry has made the whole experience around it so distasteful that I feel better iff without. On the risk of sounding like a Luddite I can honestly say that I'd rather read the book. Which I do, a lot. Time and time again my own imagination produces better special effects than the UK, Canada and New Zealand manage.

Comment: Re:Obvious Answer (Score 2) 747

by knarf (#46484493) Attached to: Measles Outbreak In NYC

How about denying medical insurance coverage to those that fail to get vaccinated, unless they can demonstrate that they are a member of a recognized religious congregation that specifically is against vaccination as a part of church dogma?

Why make an exception for 'church dogma'? If you willingly subject yourself to unnecessary risks because of 'church dogma' you should be willing and able to bear the consequences of your actions. Surely the ${deity} which instilled this 'church dogma' into its believers will come to the aid of the needy? And if ${deity} happens to fail to show up, that must all be part of the plan, right?

The only exception I see as necessary is that for underage children. They don't have a say in the matter and are just subject to whatever figment of imagination their parents or guardians impose on them.

Comment: Re:This could be good news... (Score 1) 241

by knarf (#46482257) Attached to: Ubuntu's Mir Gets Delayed Again

It is not so much that commercial unixes sucked, more that they were encumbered with so many restrictions and limitations that it got plain annoying and hard to use them. From missing tools and compilers to forced kernel rebuilds for the most trivial configuration change, anything to extract just one more license fee from the user. This, combined with the unix wars where players tried to outdo their competitors by doing things their own way made life much harder than needed.

This is probably one of the biggest contributions Linux made to the unix world. While Linux might not officially be unix, it does away with all these artificial restrictions and offers the same options to everyone everywhere. The differences between Linux distributions are nothing compared to the difference between, say, HPUX and Solaris (or AIX or Irix or Non-Stop OS or AT&T system V, let alone SCO in its many incarnations...)

Comment: Re:Please.... (Score 1) 321

by knarf (#46473009) Attached to: Google Sued Over Children's In-App Android Purchases

Also, isn't it possible to have a Google Play account without a credit card?

Yes, that is perfectly possible. Entering payment details is completely optional and does in no way limit the functionality, other than not being able to pay for apps and in-app purchases. Compare this to iOS which absolutely refuses to do anything unless you enter either payment details or a pre-paid card number. Android - iOS: 1 - 0.

Comment: And the solution is so easy... (Score 1) 321

by knarf (#46472611) Attached to: Google Sued Over Children's In-App Android Purchases

There is a really simple solution to all these problems on Android: don't enter any payment details. No, you won't be able to buy anything on your phone. What have you lost? Nothing of value. What do you gain? Peace of mind. Freedom. No more bill shock, at least not from that side of the equation.

Take it one step further for even more freedom: remove - or disable - the play store and install F-Droid. It only holds a tiny fraction of the number of apps you'll find on the play store, but everything there is free software. This is both reassuring for those who care about what they run on their devices as well as handy for those who want to get into Android software development - just look at how other did it to get a head start.

Comment: Re:And yet apple sells more tablets than anybody (Score 1) 487

by knarf (#46396851) Attached to: Android Beats iOS As the Top Tablet OS

The hardware on many of these tablets can be made to do much more than the often mediocre firmware provided by the OEM enables it to. I ported Android Cyanogenmod 10 (Android 4.1.2) to a RK3066-powered tablet which turned the thing from a sometimes sluggish, rather middle of the road performer to something which outperforms my parents' Galaxy Tab 3 (the 10.1", Intel Atom-powered version). I did the same with one of the earlier Chinese tablets (Ainol Novo 8) with similar results. For the price of a 'branded' Android tablet you can usually get two or three of these, if not more. Given the right attitude they can be made to perform like one of the branded tablets, with the added advantage of the usually larger range of interfaces and expansion options on the 'cheap' tablets.

The conclusion is simple: if you want a guaranteed 'out of the box' experience these cheaper tablets are hit and miss. If you are willing to do some work you can do really well with some of them.

Comment: Re:Drop-sensitivity (Score 1) 70

by knarf (#46371355) Attached to: Project Ara: Inside Google's Modular Smartphones

Hmmmm.... I wonder what you do to your phones which makes them do that. I have only ever had phones with removable batteries without these problems. Either you always buy lemons, you exaggerate the problem or you slam them down on the desk in a futile attempt to form a phone-shaped crater in the surface.

While the concept of a lego phone might not appeal to everyone, there certainly is some merit in being able to swap more than just the battery.

Also remember that GSM phones already contain user-swappable devices (SIM cards) which do not seem to suffer from your desk-dunking disease. There are ways of achieving this modularity without sacrificing reliability.

Comment: Re:About the proposed boycott (Score 1) 250

by knarf (#46179445) Attached to: The Bitcoin Death Star: KnC Plans 10 Megawatt Data Center In Sweden

This is probably one of the better options, even though the S/N ratio on reddit often makes me long for a Dolby C switch on this here laptop.

Sooooo... boycottperson, please add a hint to gather at the slashdot subreddit for boycott-related communications. Open a thread there and keep it alive.

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder