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Comment: Re:Advert for Razer? (Score 1) 199

by m.dillon (#49347505) Attached to: What Makes the Perfect Gaming Mouse?

Not sure what that guy was complaining about but I love my Razer Blackwidow ultimate (2013) keyboard. I grew up on heavy n-key-rollover IBM keyboards and then had to make due with horrible light, cheap, keyboards for many years until I found the Razer. It's worth the price for me. And I've gone through probably 30 or 40 keyboards over the last 35 years.

* Heavy, it doesn't move around.

* USB extension port on the right hand side is perfect for my wireless mouse's transceiver plug.

* N-key rollover that actually works, solid tactile (mechanical) response. I can type at 80+ WPM again.

* And doesn't have thousands of useless extra buttons.

Since a Razer engineer is listening. My suggestions:

* Have a usb port on the left side as well as the right side.
* Change the middle-bottom symbol. I don't quite remember... it might have been backlit before and I took the keyboard apart to disconnect it. It was a distraction.
* Don't reverse the upper and lower-case symbols on the keycaps. That was kinda silly.
* The bottom feet could be a little more robust.

In terms of mice, I use a simple microsoft or logitech wireless mouse now. Simple three button w/wheel... I don't like extra buttons or left/right buttons and when I play games I tend to map most features to the left-hand side of the keyboard rather than to a complex mouse. That way I can bang the mouse around without accidental button pushes. I prefer wired mice but for the last few years I couldn't find any at the stores I frequent.

The wireless mice are fine as long as (A) the tranceiver is within a few inches of the mouse, which it is hanging off the keyboard's RHS usb port. and (B) You use a AA alkaline (non rechargeable) battery. Rechargeable batteries just don't last due to charge leakage. And of course keep a spare battery within reach or replace every month whether or not it needs replacing.

-Matt

Comment: That will be amusing (Score 1) 262

by m.dillon (#49339395) Attached to: RadioShack Puts Customer Data Up For Sale In Bankruptcy Auction

Whenever Radio Shack asked me for my address I just said I wasn't interested in giving it to them. But a friend of mine did one better... he always wrote down the address of the White house and signed it Mickey Mouse. And the sales person dutifully entered it into the computer, no questions asked.

-Matt

Comment: Re:At What Frequency? (Score 3, Informative) 83

That is not a correct description. Lower frequency radio waves are no less 'quantum' or 'classical' than higher frequency radio waves. AM radios can penetrate objects primarily because they have a wavelength on the order of 400 meters (up to around 1 MHz), whereas FM radios have a wavelength of only a few meters (through around 100 MHz). The longer wavelength of AM effectively allows the radio wave to bypass even relatively large objects such as mountains.

The same effect can be seen even within your house if you have a dual-band WIFI router. The 2.4 GHz band is able to penetrate walls and go around corners and reach the second floor far more easily than the 5 GHz band can.

-Matt

Comment: What morons (Score 1) 485

by m.dillon (#49336901) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

What morons. Sorry, but they are. They are writing to a file through the operating system which means that it is being spooled out to disk asynchronously, so obviously piecemeal writes are going to be faster because they will run concurrently with the string generation algorithm. Plus their 'writes' are probably being buffered in ram anyway.

Writes to files generally do not stall programs. These people are morons.

-Matt

Comment: Re:Simplicity? (Score 1) 269

by m.dillon (#49279135) Attached to: Fraud Rampant In Apple Pay

No, the ApplePay CC number is not transmitted in any way, only the one-time token is transmitted. If the credit card reader is compromised it is theoretically possible to issue a payment using the one-time token before the payment can be issued by the vendor, but not really practical. And once a payment has been issued the token becomes worthless so the vendor will find out very quickly that they have been compromised (as in, within a few hours, possibly even in real time, rather than months later).

-Matt

Comment: Re:Simplicity? (Score 2) 269

by m.dillon (#49277613) Attached to: Fraud Rampant In Apple Pay

In terms of convenience, ApplePay is about as easy as a contactless credit card. It takes me about 3 seconds to pay with ApplePay and at least for me it's faster than even a contactless card because I keep my phone in a more accessible pocket than I do my wallet.

More importantly, ApplePay is significantly easier to use than chip-and-pin or traditional cards, which is where its competition really is (because that is what most people use in the U.S. who are just now starting to migrate). And also significantly more secure for the user.

It is certainly far more convenient to use than Google Wallet or any Android payment scheme to-date which require you to turn on your phone and/or push into an App to use. Not sure why anyone is even arguing about Google Wallet or other Android pay schemes any more, they've already very obviously have lost that war and will need significant hardware upgrades to even come close to ApplePay's convenience or security.

Touching your wallet to the reader is a bit of a misnomer... works great if you have just one card in your wallet. Doesn't work reliably if you have more than one. Another interesting little tidbit on the contactless payment cards is that if you are standing in line and the person in front of you is paying, and your card is anywhere near the reader, the reader can pick up your card accidently. That has happened to a friend of mine several times, to the point where he now keeps his contactless card in a faraday-cage card slip. That doesn't happen with ApplePay because you have your finger on the fingerprint reader to complete the transaction.

-Matt

Comment: Re:sun? maybe, but who cares. (Score 1) 300

by m.dillon (#49198259) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

Well, I think it was a combination of things, and Linux was certainly a part of the reason. But not the whole reason. There are several reasons why Sun finally died:

(1) Sun hardware just couldn't keep up with Intel. The many-threads model really only worked well for parallelization of database operations and not much else. Each individual cpu thread simply became too slow. And people stopped caring about database benchmarks because they were more a function of rapidly improving storage and networking technology than anything else. CPU performance stopped mattering so much and Sun's super-optimized core hardware advantage went right out the door along with it.

(2) Sun's utility software quickly fell behind linux and the BSDs. I began noticing this long before Sun actually sold out to Oracle. Sun's kernel stayed fairly relevant, Solaris wasn't bad... very solid in fact. But competing operating systems were also becoming more solid. But, OMG, the utililties were all 80s crap. Nobody growing up in today's world (or even the world of a decade ago) would be happy with a base Solaris install.

(3) Sun basically became like IBM... corporate only sales and screw making anything that could be bought by up-and-coming students. Solaris for x86 was never taken seriously by Sun, and thus never taken seriously by people outside of Sun. With students growing up on Linux (the younger age group) and the BSDs (my age group), Sun started losing market power as these generational shifts began moving into the workplace. Also, system needs by the web began changing. Sure there are still huge backend databases, but most of the services (and the related hardware) were becoming heavily distributed and Sun's hardware just didn't fit the model.

In fact, this is similar to the problems that SGI had. They were married to their hardware (don't get me started on Solaris for x86), the hardware became non-competitive and unpurchasable by smaller businesses or individuals, and the base software was locked into an 80's snapshot of hell. The system programmers lost sight of what people wanted and got tunnel vision, super-optimizing database paths and ignoring everything else. Problem is, people were more interested in the 'everything else' part.

It might be fine for the older IT types, but all the newcomers had grown up on Linux and the middle-agers had grown up on the BSDs. Their rotation into the workplace spelled Sun's death in very loud, clear terms that Sun pretty much ignored.

-Matt

Comment: Some things have improve, mostly gotten worse (Score 2) 300

by m.dillon (#49197869) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

While some things have improved in Firefox, much of the browser has gotten worse over time. Simple illustration... it leaks huge amounts of memory. After only 3 days of sitting around:

    UID PID PPID CPU PRI NI VSZ RSS WCHAN STAT TT TIME COMMAND
    101 164892 1738 128 230 0 1.45G 1.02G - R2L ?? 3d09:44 firefox -geometry +2820+80

After around 2 weeks the machine starts to swap. I've seen the image grow to over 6GB (with 4GB *active*) before I've had to kill it and start a fresh copy. WTF is firefox using all that memory for? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Other problems include severe instability, particularly with the file requestor (when uploading files), which results in seg-faults. And even with all the threading there seem to be severe interdependencies between tabs running javascript, so if one tab is javascript-heavy, it messes up the performance of other tabs.

The menu system is in a complete shambles, and I was really unhappy when the last upgrade changed my default search preferences to Yahoo without so much as a by-your-leave.

-Matt

Comment: Re:Mountain View (Score 1) 176

by m.dillon (#49119913) Attached to: H-1B Visas Proving Lucrative For Engineers, Dev Leads

Rents in Mountain View for a nice apartment run around $2500/mo. The cost of not having to commute can be high. But there are plenty of other places with relatively good BART access that will run significantly lower. They certainty don't run $7K/month unless you are renting a large house.

-Matt

Comment: Re:UL (Underwriters) is a private, for-profit comp (Score 1) 114

by m.dillon (#49088961) Attached to: Duplicate SSH Keys Put Tens of Thousands of Home Routers At Risk

Kinda Apples and Oranges. UL testing is fairly straight-forward. The quick explanation - they stress the device in various ways and see if it catches on fire. Checking a crypto setup to a reasonable level of satisfaction can't be done externally. The code for the entire system must be examined, and that is relatively difficult to do.

-Matt

Comment: The basic problem that linux and the BSDs have (Score 5, Insightful) 393

by m.dillon (#49071039) Attached to: PC-BSD: Set For Serious Growth?

Linux and the BSDs have been chasing desktop usability for ages. Hell, I've been chasing desktop usability for ages.

Microsoft has it easy. The produce windows and all the laptop, desktop, and server vendors spend hundreds of millions of dollars making sure their designs work with it.

Apple makes their own PCs, they don't have to chase hardware.

And us? Every time a new machine comes out (which is often). A new model, a new chipset, a different combination of on-board devices, whatever.. every single time that happens we developers have to write new drivers or modify existing drivers. We have to work out the kinks, the broken mobo hardware, the broken ACPI implementations, the broken sound hardware that doesn't follow vendor specs or has major exceptions because vendors are lazy. We have to glue the whole mess together not just once. Not just twice. But 20 or 30 times a year. Every year. Forever.

Until that equation changes, the general population simply can't depend on any of our open source code to work on whatever new cool computer they want to buy. And that puts us in the backseat in terms of adoption. Every time.

We can make our stuff work with specific machines, at least if the stars align (that is, if we have the chip specs for the chipsets that have changed and we can write drivers for them fast enough). Making our stuff work with everything, out of the box... it just doesn't happen on a macro scale.

In some small way the collapse of the external chip vendors into a much smaller set of companies has helped. Only two major video companies that we have to worry about now, plus whatever Intel is doing (which they at least provide some specs on now, finally). Only two WIFI chipsets that really matter, maybe three. Only a half dozen ethernet chipset families really matter now. Only two cpu vendors really matter. It's getting better but not because the companies are altruistic. Simply because there are fewer of them and we don't have to write as many drivers or make as many driver mods whenever new hardware comes out. But it isn't enough. Not nearly enough to make us competitive.

That's the #1 problem.

The #2 problem we face is that there is no suitable desktop that works as well as either Windows or Mac desktops. I've tried them all. In linux even. They ALL SUCK. They all break in one way or another and it's just as bad in the linux community as it is in the BSD community due to rampant N.I.H. syndrome. The desktops fail on many levels. Apple doesn't have this problem because Apple enforces a unified ABI for accessing major media subsystems such as audio and video. Microsoft doesn't have this problem either, for the same reason. Linux and the BSDs have no unified ABI, essentially forcing application writers to target their apps to specific user interfaces or hardware subsystems.

It annoys the hell out of me but I don't see anything on the horizon that can really solve the problem.

-Matt

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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