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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.


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.


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.


Comment: Re:fvwm is what I use, anyway (Score 1) 755

by m.dillon (#49064423) Attached to: Removing Libsystemd0 From a Live-running Debian System

Wow, someone other than me who uses fvwm (fvwm2 that is). For the same reason as well. I've tried many other window managers and they all have glitzy graphics and look pretty cool... and also all fall flat on their face if I have a lot of open windows. Spread over 4 virtual x 2 real screens. Dozens and dozens of open windows, usually a mix of xterms, firefox, and xpdf.

Fvwm? I configure a bunch of button bars and a couple of background clocks stuck to my screens. And, of course, a color-gradient title bar:

ButtonStyle 3 Vector 13 26x29@1 34x21@1 50x35@1 70x21@1 79x29@1 63x48@0 79x65@1 70x75@0 50x61@0 34x75@0 26x65@0 44x48@1 26x29@0

Yah, it definitely takes some messing around with the configuration file but what I love most about fvwm2? It's ultra stable and so is the config file. I don't care if its old, it does everything I need it to and it does it fast.


Comment: Can't help you much with the hardware, but (Score 1) 327

by m.dillon (#49034399) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Panic Button a Very Young Child Can Use

But I can suggest that the best technology for this sort of thing is a stand-alone cellular modem, preferentially one that is on the same network as your cell phone. Wire the button into that and have it send a text message to your phone and to your gmail address.

There are certainly cellular modems that work over a serial link and I assume there are devices you can buy off the shelf that will integrate the whole thing into a panic button type of interface. But I haven't researched all-in-one solutions so I can't point you at one. We use cellular modem / texting for alarms and alerts for telemetry systems (replacing satellite paging systems which died out many years ago).

The message will flow through the fewest number of networks possible to reach its destination (typically just the telco's own network) and texting protocols are quite robust on the telco side. It's the most reliable solution possible. If you run the message through your home router it is likely traversing four or five completely different networks to reach its destination and that just isn't as reliable.

But frankly, still not at the level of quality needed for a serious medical condition.


Comment: Consumable photos verses memories (Score 1) 422

by m.dillon (#48994689) Attached to: What Happened To the Photography Industry In 2014?

The way I see people using smartphone cameras these days is almost entirely for consumable pictures... pictures you take and gawk at for a few seconds, maybe post, and then are forgotten in the pile of tens of thousands of similar pictures. Only a very few are good enough to be memories and with the extremely narrow sweet spot of a smartphone camera or even a modern point-and-shoot, it is relatively difficult to create something that distinguishes itself. The medium and high-end DSLR camera vendors shouldn't try to go after that market.

But there is a market. Any vacation or long trip that you might want to create a memory with. You don't have to be a professional photographer. But if you want to create something memorable from that sort of trip and make a little (or big) book about it, a smartphone or point-and-shoot camera ain't gonna do it. You won't get something like this with a smartphone:

For anyone with an interest in travel, or even modestly-sized vacations closer to home, bringing along a decent camera (something bigger than a point and shoot) is what gives you that permanency after you've returned home.

Probably the younger crowd doesn't understand so much because you simply haven't taken enough pictures in your lives yet (even with a smartphone and social media). But you will understand once you get to the point where you are overflowing with crap in your photo archive to the point where you don't even bother to look at it any more.


Comment: Re:It's not all about the numbers (Score 2) 422

by m.dillon (#48994305) Attached to: What Happened To the Photography Industry In 2014?

The GPS works quite well on the 6D, but the WIFI is basically unusable. There is no background upload option like the WIFI grip had and there is no way to connect to anything on the internet other than Canon's canned services (no way to upload to an FTP server for example). The pad-based remote control works only 'ok'... reviewing pictures on the pad works relatively well but it's a waste of time to try to do it while out in the field, so there isn't much of a point to it.

I'm not dissing the 6D, I have one... it's a great camera. But the WIFI feature is so bad it might as well not be there.


Comment: Sound similar to what AT&T tried to do (Score 1) 132

AT&Ts U-Verse runs fiber to a corner box in the neighborhood and then dual-DSL over existing copper lines to homes. It's been a dismal failure. When they initially rolled it out they thought they could situate the corner boxes relatively far away from the homes but the copper had so much noise and cross talk it just didn't work, so they've had to move the boxes closer. And even then they barely get 20 MBits downlink and a really horrid uplink. Comcast is twice as fast at a minimum.

Sounds like BT hit the same problem. The only real solution is, as they said, make the copper portion of the run as short as possible (ultimately remove it entirely but that means a lot of retrenching).


Comment: Re:Salary versus cost of living in each city (Score 2) 136

by m.dillon (#48895213) Attached to: By the Numbers: The Highest-Paying States For Tech Professionals

Well, not necessarily true. You are ignoring the costs to maintain the home, a myrid of utilities you have to pay every month that renters often don't, insurance, and property taxes. I'm a home owner but I don't think there is such a huge gap between owning and renting. A lot of older owners are faced with having to sell their homes after retirement and moving somewhere cheaper when they would rather stay where they are. It's more like a safety net and less like a nest-egg, frankly.

That said, I prefer to own.


Comment: Might be difficult (Score 1) 431

by m.dillon (#48895049) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Mice are so mass-market these days that it is hard to find one that actually performs properly. I've gone through a lot of mice over the years, always preferring the hardwired mice over the wireless (dead battery == unhappy), but in the last round I simply couldn't find a wired mouse that worked well. Everything being sold was wireless.

Of late, many of the mice I've tried have simply been too big and bulky, stretching my fingers and generally uncomfortable.

I wound up going with a Microsoft Sculpt 1569 wireless mouse (w/ Nano Transceiver). The Logitech M325 wireless also works but its middle-button-scroll wheel isn't ratcheted. These small mice are nice, my thumb and two right fingers hang over the edge and stay relaxed.

Also I recommend buying a non-rechargable alkaline AA for it, which will last 6 months. The rechargable NiMH batteries usually only last 1-2 months before they have to be replaced/recharged due to nominal leakage, which is too annoying (though I suppose one could buy low-leakage NiMHs).

The middle button scroll wheel isn't a problem. Most of them can also be clicked left and right which IS a problem because it's trivial to accidently click left or click right when you are just trying to push down on it as a middle button. So I disable the mouse-wheel left/right action entirely via:

xinput set-button-map Mouse1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 0 0 10 11

For the transceiver I find that (obviously) the closer it is to the mouse the better. The best solution is to buy a keyboard that has a USB extension on its right or left side and plug the transceiver into that. Then the transceiver is right next to the mouse with no extra cabling. The Razer (mechanical) gaming keyboards are my favorite... very heavy so they don't move around and have the same feel as the old IBM mechnical keyboards had. 80 WPM is a breeze on them.


Comment: The thing I remember about EISA? (Score 1) 189

by m.dillon (#48877089) Attached to: User Plea Means EISA Support Not Removed From Linux

I remember that every time I changed a card out the machine took 30 minutes to reconfigure itself, because some doochebag of a programmer wrote the #$%#$% configurator that all the vendors used. An operation that could have been done in 5 seconds if written properly. That was the first ... and last EISA machine I ever bought.


Comment: Mmmmm (Score 1) 79

by m.dillon (#48778593) Attached to: OpenBSD Releases a Portable Version of OpenNTPD

DragonFly has had its own ntp-only client for years, dntpd. Not sure why this is suddenly becoming a topic now.

In terms of portability, every operating system has different sysctls or system calls for manipulating the clock. There is no single standard for setting the frequency drift correction, step, or slide operations to correct the time. And part of the problem is that most of these APIs are deficient in one way or another and make it difficult for the ntp client to run the corrections without generating feedback which messes up further corrections.

Beyond that, the code is fairly straight-forward.


Comment: Re:Good for the EFF (Score 2) 220

by m.dillon (#48770309) Attached to: EFF: Apple's Dev Agreement Means No EFF Mobile App For iOS

You know, Apple has given out over $25B (billion, with a B) to its iOS developers since its inception. You don't have to like all the terms, frankly, but in the real world being too altruistic isn't going to do you any favors. Apple puts a premium on the security of its devices and has to continuously juggle the sensibilities of dozens large companies.

History is littered with open-source programmers with so little business sense they wind up living in a RV park their whole lives and retiring with zero savings. Or worse.


Comment: Re:Principles vs Practicality (Score 1) 220

by m.dillon (#48770211) Attached to: EFF: Apple's Dev Agreement Means No EFF Mobile App For iOS

This isn't really correct. HTML5 apps aren't even remotely as smooth as a native iOS app, particularly when it comes to scrolling and window moves. I have a few on my ipad. Developers will use them in a pinch but pretty much just until they are able to get a native app approved.


Chemist who falls in acid is absorbed in work.