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Comment We are screwed. (Score 2) 17

So, 3.6 Gb/s is cool and all; but I did a quick check and Verizon is calling 18GB/month the 'XXL' plan, so this appears to be largely an exercise in accruing overage fees even faster.

It seems like what will matter much more(unless somebody is planning to use the same tech for highly directional point-to-point wireless links, in which case raw speed is pretty useful); is how well these '5G' arrangements handle congestion; and how efficiently the amazing-fancy-theoretical-peak-throughput can be divided across a large number of users. Unless you are made of money, the problem with wireless data isn't so much how slow it is; but how costly it is(in part because of scarcity, which more efficient RF technology might actually alleviate, the 'because we can' part is a separate issue); and how it has a habit of just collapsing in a screaming heap under heavy load.

If the impressive peak bandwidth numbers indicate a larger pool of usable transmission capacity extracted from a given chunk of spectrum, fantastic, that is progress. If they simply represent what you could do if a single client used every doesn't-play-well-with-others trick in the book to get better speeds, that's utterly useless.

Comment Re:Still loaded with shovelware (Score 1) 69

You don't get the "Browbeat your rep" option; but I'm pretty sure that Dell will sell you Optiplex and Latitude systems in quantity 1, if you have a credit card. I think even Precisions and at least the more boring Poweredge stuff should be available as well.

You obviously don't have to go with Dell; but unless they've changed something recently; buying small quantities of business class machines should be no more difficult than buying consumer grade.

Comment Re:I guess they realised... (Score 1) 108

The ability to use a DIFFERENT logger is not a bug, in fact that feature is the reason Unix has survived for 40 years - because no matter how technology changed, no matter what hardware changes we saw, no matter what new demands were placed on it, you can meet them by swapping out just one or two simple components.

It is possible - only when every component is independent and simple, so you CAN swap out components individually and everything else still just works.

Comment Re:I guess they realised... (Score 1) 108

>Thanks, but I'm not religious. I prefer things that are convenient to those that are ideologically pure.

That's all well and good but when that "ideology" is the result of 40 years of practical experience by a culture that has produced the engine that drives the entire 21st century (yes, that engine is Unix, because it drives the internet), which has allowed that system to survive thousands of incredible changes to technology virtually unchanged - because no matter how the world changed, it was still working, still useful, still more powerful than the alternatives and changing it to make use of the latest and greatest available technology was always ridiculously easy, when it produced the only operating system that runs on everything from the tiniest embedded systems to the largest supercomputers - then rejecting it requires a strong, rational argument - and even the best such arguments are likely to hold only in very rare niche cases.

And the problem with systemd is it violates virtually every one of the principles of that philosophy and offers NO rational reason for ANY of the violations - and it isn't doing so in a niche where perhaps some of those principles are genuinely not applicable, it's doing it to the heart of the system.
These changes are the ONLY reason Linux exists - because they are the reason Unix didn't die in 1969 when it was invented, or in the 1970s when mainframes met microprocessors, or in the 1980s when PCs were invented... they are what allowed unix to adapt and scale to the fast changing world of technology at the front of the curve at all times, exactly because they made changing it always easier than building something new.

It violates the rule of separating mechanism from policy. It now enforces policy on what ought to be a pure mechanism - and there is a very solid and rational reason for that rule: policy changes often but mechanism tends to be long-lived. Failing to separate them means tying the policy to the lifespan of the mechanism and when new technology requires new policies you get incredible hardship. Virtually every major problem windows ever had sprung from it's marriage of mechanism with policy. Why do you think it took them 20 years to implement the bare beginnings of proper multi-user support ? Because the policy of single user was tied fundamentally into the mechanisms of the system 20 years earlier.
And what does systemd offer as a rational reason for violating this ? Nothing.

It violates the rule that applications should always expect simple clear text as input, and produce simple clear text as output. That rule is so fundamental to the flexibility and power of unix that to break it at the init level is to completely destroy that power. If systemd becomes universal, linux will lose all the marketshare it gain in every market, and lose it to unix systems that kept the rule - because the next breakthrough in technology will require adaptations - which systemd will have made incredibly hard.
More-over, it weakens what you can do with the system - the ability to string commands together in utterly arbitrary ways via pipelines have allowed a relatively small set of primitive applications to serve literally ever conceivable user need, exactly by NOT trying to conceive of every possible user need - but providing the means to construct whatever solution you could possibly want on the fly.
And what rational reason does systemd offer for this ? Nothing.

And those are just two out of a very long list.
The argument that the unix was is "too complex" is not new, people have been making that argument for the entire 36 years since Unix was first invented, they have always been proven wrong -because even if it's true, the reality is that the trade-off is worth it, because it creates a system where anything and everything is possible - including the one thing no other system has EVER managed: to survive fashions.

Comment Re:either integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 or a po (Score 1) 69

There have been several different flavors of Intel Integrated/Nvidia combinations on the market; with slightly different requirements and options depending on the details of how they are implemented.

My memory is a little fuzzy; but I think that the earliest implementations had actual 'video out' from both the IGP and the GPU, with switching silicon on the motherboard that sent one or the other to the LCD. Those offered the most visible control over which graphics device was in use(the one that wasn't was more or less fully shut down); but I think you had to at least log out, possibly reboot, to switch between them; that era definitely had BIOS options for permanently setting one or the other.

OEMs didn't like the cost of the added switching silicon, and users didn't like the clunkiness of switching between GPUs, so subsequent generations refined the process, with increasingly seamless cooperation(I think that the standard now has only the intel IGP connected to the LCD and any video outs; but the Nvidia GPU can write to its framebuffer if it is taking care of a given graphical task, so it isn't actually possible for the IGP to ever be fully idle, though the Nvidia GPU can be); but a corresponding increase in unhelpfulness if you are trying to force a configuration that non Optimus aware drivers can recognize and work with.

My Linux and BSD systems don't do much in the way of graphics, so I don't know what the current state of support is.

Comment Re:Betting we'll see thermal issues. (Score 1) 69

I have yet to hear any clear explanation for why Intel appears less than cooperative about the idea of Thunderbolt being used for GPU purposes. There have been a few, heavily integrated and close to model-specific, releases; but the "Here is a box with an x16(mechanical) PCIe slot inside, and a thunderbolt port" market is pretty slim, with the exception of some very, very, expensive cardcages from outfits like Magma, clearly aimed at audiences with expansion cards that make gamer toys look disposably cheap.

Most of the tinkering you see skips Thunderbolt entirely and uses the PCIe 1x->16x adapters that became popular when GPU cryptocurrency mining became a craze; and connect those either to the 1x PCIe lane provided by an Expresscard slot; or the one provided by a mini-PCIe slot.

Comment Re:Beware of Dell Support - Worst I've seen (Score 1) 69

What he told you was true. From a certain point of view: Dell's 'consumer' support has traditionally been somewhere between 'as empty and pitiless as the dark spaces between the stars' and 'actively insulting'; but they've always recognized the value of treating enterprise customers properly(and the warranties cost more, to compensate). There have been some ignoble incidents(their handling of Optiplex GX270 capacitor-plague failures was so egregious it resulted in litigation; ironically the IT guys at the law firm defending Dell were fighting to get their own GX270s replaced with ones that worked at the same time the lawyers were making the case that Dell's handling of the matter was just fine...); but in general their Poweredge, Optiplex, Latitude, and Vostro lines all have pretty decent support; and offer excellent support as an option if you are willing to pay for it.

The 'Inspiron' line, for home peons, has traditionally been pretty atrocious. XPS tacks somewhere between the two; it's a bit more annoying if you are trying to operate at scale(unlike the business/enterprise support guys, they tend not to let you do the "I've already run the diagnostics, here are the error codes, now send me a new whatever" thing); but unlike the low-end home user guys, they don't treat you like a filthy cost center who should fuck off and die.

Comment Re:Non-IPS panels (Score 1) 69

In fairness to Windows, non-integer multiple resizing simply isn't possible to do well unless all your graphics are vector(and even then, the designer's care and attention can have a strong influence on whether the result actually looks good to people at different scales; but at least there is a mathematically 'correct' answer).

If you have bitmap elements, integer-multiple resizing is both relatively trivial and possible to do 'correctly'. Non-integer multiple, like lossy compression, can be done in surprisingly non-annoying ways; but it cannot be done without some violence to the original. Bicubic interpolation will look a whole hell of a lot better than nearest-neighbor; but there simply is no 'correct' way of mapping N pixels into some non-integer multiple of N pixels.

Windows tends to work even less well than the ideal case would suggest; but even if you completely discard all issues of legacy widget sets, horrible retro UI designs, etc. and sit down with a bitmap image in photoshop, resizing it by a non-integer multiple is going to be a matter of compromise.

Comment Re:Non-IPS panels (Score 1) 69

'4k' is glorious; but unless you have truly impressive eyes, it's hard to justify on any laptop you'd be willing to carry. Going from 2560 x 1440 to 3840 X 2160 on the desktop was even better than I expected; but that was on a 27-28ish inch display; and if details were any smaller they'd be actively uncomfortable.

On a display of half the diagonal size, in a situation where GPU and battery power are at a premium, it just seems a tad excessive.

Comment Re:Input devices (Score 1) 69

It'd be beautiful if you could get aftermarket keyboards with a trackpoint added. Probably not possible for most models(I would have expected the falling cost of silicon to make embedding the controller into the keyboard FRU and being able to use a lower pin-count USB/serial/i2C/whatever connection to the motherboard; rather than leaving the keyboard passive and running all the lines from the switch matrix more common; but most laptop keyboard connectors continue to be matrix-type with the actual keyboard controller on the motherboard, so you couldn't just add the pointing device without cooperation from the motherboard, unlike what the situation would be if the connector were just a USB port with a nonstandard connector).

Between Lenovo attempting to bring their own, inferior, ideas to the Thinkpad line's design, and their fuckery with assorted terrible preloaded crapware; it's a lot harder to get excited about a new Thinkpad; but going without a trackpoint would hurt.

In fairness, though, Dell appears to have really upped their game on design of late. These models aren't even Latitudes, and they are genuinely nice; rather than merely endurable and attractively priced(though the price isn't bad). Tempting.

Comment Re: Simple (Score 1) 104

Because the emergency dialler requirement is not intended solely for the person who owns the phone. It's expected that any telephone that you pick up (land line or mobile) will work for emergency calls. This is also why landlines can still make emergency calls even if they are nominally disconnected by the phone company.

Comment Re:A perfect example of why tech is cyclical.... (Score 2) 35

For sufficiently latency-insensitive operations I don't think that it has every really gone away; but my impression(based on hazy memory and anecdote, though I'd welcome anyone with actual numbers) is that, unless you live in an atypically favored location, the delta between the storage you can afford and what the ISP will sell you, much less at a price you can stomach, has actually increased over time, thanks to HDDs massively upping their game while ISPs have improved; but rather more slowly(especially on upload).

Comment Re:Theft waiting to happen (Score 1) 35

Unless they really screw up the encryption(in which case the value of some of the data being transported might be worthwhile); these things seem like they'd actually be pretty dubious theft options. Even new, 50TB worth of consumer grade disk(I assume that Amazon is using some redundancy; but probably isn't splurging on SAS or fancy-enterprise-SATA for disks that will spend most of their life with Fedex, not actually spinning) isn't actually all that valuable(4TB drives are ~$150 retail, 6TB ~$250) and 'used' is not a happy word when trying to sell a hard drive. Plus it's essentially certain that Amazon has every serial number, MAC address, etc. of every component in the box on record, so you are SOL if anyone ever checks.

It also wouldn't be too surprising if the case has some level of active anti-theft reporting. Given that sub-$100 cellphones have GPS, a cell modem, one or more accelerometers, and are built on SoCs with enough GPIO to connect a bunch of tamper switches/sensors to; it wouldn't be particularly impractical for the box to report its location, integrity, orientation, and vibration levels every 30 seconds for the entire trip. Not impossible to defeat; but you'd need to nab it in an area of no service and silence it(by force or RF-blocking container) before moving it elsewhere.

I'd certainly encrypt my data carefully before consigning it to either the post or the internet; but I'd be surprised if hitting these boxes would be a good risk/reward for postal employees(though I know I'd like a look at what is inside, a nice rugged network attached storage module is likely to be a neat piece of gear).

Comment Re: Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 1) 204

There are many variations on capitalism. What Americans call libertarianism however is only compatible with Austrian school. Welfare states are also capitalist (no they have less than nothing to do with socialism and there is literally nothing whatsoever about socialism that requires or even involves the state. Anarcho-socialist philosophies are perfectly logical to people who know what the word means)

All your other claims are blatantly false and ignorant however. For a start libertarianism is almost 500 years old and no such thing as capitalist libertarianism has existed for more than 40 of those. In the world outside America its coupled with socialism. Indeed the only libertarian society that has ever actually existed was a socialist one. Read up on Andalusia.

Comment Re:Why not just bundle the app? (Score 1) 14

No. For Amazon it's about tying people into their media infrastructure.

They don't need the Kindle for books, because just about every device has a Kindle app. They want to get cheap Kindles out there, so people then buy movies and music and books and games and... lots of other stuff from Amazon. And I see you're buying a movie, did you know can can subscribe for only $99.99 a month and get free access to everything?

To communicate is the beginning of understanding. -- AT&T