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Comment: Re:Comparable? Not really. (Score 2) 70

by Animats (#47957187) Attached to: Is Alibaba Comparable To a US Company?

When someone buys a share in Apple, they actually get an ownership share in Apple.

Apple, yes. Google or Facebook, no. Google and Facebook have two classes of stock. The class with all the voting rights is in both cases controlled by the founders. The publicly traded shares cannot outvote them, even if someone bought all of them.

Until recently, multiple classes of stock were prohibited for NYSE-listed companies, which tended to discourage doing this. (The classic exception was Ford, which has two classes of stock, the voting shares controlled by the Ford family. This predates that NYSE rule.)

This matters when the insiders make a big mistake and the stock starts going down. There's no way to kick them out.

Comment: Crash not computer-related (Score 5, Informative) 107

by Animats (#47955905) Attached to: Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

The Red Line crash was not computer-related. The signalling system for the Washington Metro is a classic electromechanical relay-based system. Just like the New York subways. The Red Line crash was caused by a failure of a track circuit for detecting trains, trackside equipment using an audio-frequency signal sent through the rails and shorted to the other rail by the train's wheels. All those components are pre-computer technology.

As with most railway systems, manual driving isn't enough to prevent collisions, because stopping distances are often longer than visual distances. That was the case here.

The Washington Metro had been sloppy about maintenance of trackside equipment. They do have a central computer system, and it logs what the relay-based signal systems are doing, although it can't override them. They had logs of previous failures, and should have fixed the problem.

Comment: Re:Why I wired Ethernet in most rooms (and no WiFi (Score 1) 276

by fyngyrz (#47955245) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

2- Safety concerns: with baby and/or young children I felt I would rather not add RF generator inside my home. I know we are immersed in RF from everywhere, making some a few meters away is another level. I didn't want to add that. Just in case.

Ham radio operators -- of which I am one -- spend their lives immersed in more RF at various frequencies from kHz to GHz than you can possibly compare to unless you work at a broadcast radio or television station. And hams are one of the oldest demographics in the USA. So many 80 and 90 year olds, it's really kind of amusing. RF is not your enemy at wifi router and cellphone levels. Not even close.

I've been pretty much bathed in RF for the last forty years. I'm very healthy other than a few allergies I've had since I was a kid. Of course, I'm active, too -- but if RF at these levels was a problem, I'd *have* a problem by now.

Comment: Re: Simplification, n. (Score 1) 144

by Anne Thwacks (#47955105) Attached to: KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity
I'd much rather pick one thing I like from a list of ten than make ten binary decisions about ingredients.

However, the ten choices we get will never include the ten I want, or the ten you want - they will be what get offered by the Gnome dev team this release, and once we have got used to them, a completely different ten.

Granted being able to choose (unlike in Unity) is good, and if the options exist, someone will want every possible combination. (2^10 is only 1024 combinations, and you gotta hope more than 1 million people will use your GUI).

Best bet is to have both an easy way to pick a "skin" from popular choices (with a high contrast default that works regardless of LCD, CRT, or whatever is next, no matter how ugly - not that ugly should be the design objective) and a more complex "fix the feature that bugs you" - clearly marked "advanced users only" and with a way to save your choices and export them to other machines (by email?).

The worst possible is to pretend your desktop is a 2011 smartphone. Hell, I want Gnome-fallback-shell on my Samsung Note 4. Dropdown menus worked on 320x240 (as well as anything could on a Crap Graphic Array).

I definitely want to have multiple desktops, resizeable windows, and hierarchical menus on my Android phone. Icons are all very well for ten choices, but a complete failure for 1024 choices.

Hierarchically structured words big enough to read no mattter how many there are, are way better than, tiny, meaningless pictures you can't recognise no matter how few.

Comment: Re:White House (Score 2) 109

by Animats (#47955101) Attached to: Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

the US Government use UCAVs to keep the airspace around DC clear.

Actually, the current response to airspace incursions in the DC area is an F-16 and a Coast Guard helicopter. The F-16 is in case it turns out to be hostile, and the Coast Guard helicopter is for the usual case, which is a clueless VFR pilot who needs directions. This happens several times a week. The FAA now insists that all pilots operating within 60 miles of DC (actually 60NM of the DCA VOR) take this online course. Amazingly, there are still clueless pilots wandering into this airspace, although fewer than a few years ago.

Comment: Some info seems bogus (Score 1) 304

by Animats (#47954977) Attached to: Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

Some of that info seems bogus. 10,000 CNC mills? Unlikely. 10,000 CNC machines of all types across all of Apple manufacturing, maybe.

There's a nice video about how Apple machines a round can for their round desktop computer. They're going through a lot of steps to make a can, yet they're doing it in a low-volume way. Here's how soft drink cans are made. Same shape, but much higher production volume.

Apple is doing this to justify charging $2700 for an x86-64 machine with midrange specs.

Comment: Re:Google's storage (Score 4, Interesting) 304

by Animats (#47954875) Attached to: Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

There are amusing efforts to sell disk drives to Google. Near Google HQ there is a movie theater complex. I once saw an ad run before a movie. Two minutes of sales pitch for bulk purchases of enterprise hard drives, with lots of technical detail. Clearly this was addressed to a very specific audience.

Comment: Re:Why not stronger punishments for... (Score 2) 109

by bmo (#47954429) Attached to: Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

all of this media that has already ruined the next Star Wars movie.

The only thing that has ruined a Star Wars movie is George Lucas.

http://redlettermedia.com/plin... - the best ever deconstructions of Star Wars that are more entertaining than those movies ever were.

Watch and learn, Grasshopper.

For a shorter version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

--
BMO

Comment: Re:Looking for info on running 4k screens (Score 3, Informative) 108

by Kjella (#47954297) Attached to: NVIDIA Launches Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 GPUs

As I understand it 30p is okay for photo work, but a pretty big compromise for general desktop use so I wouldn't do it. I have a 3840x2160@60p 28" monitor hooked up over DisplayPort 1.2 using SST (single stream transport). It works very well, I can also hook it up to my 1080p TV at the same time on my GTX 670. Just bought dual GTX 970s to replace it though.

There are three ways to support 4K content:
HDMI 2.0
DisplayPort 1.2+ over SST
DisplayPort 1.2+ over MST

Avoid MST (multiple stream transport), it's not worth the issues. DisplayPort 1.2 has been around for a while, the screen is usually the blocker on whether you can use SST. My screen (Samsung UD590) can so I do and that works great. HDMI 2.0 is brand new, the GTX 970/980 are the first graphics cards to support them but I suppose they're the only means to hook up 4K to an UHDTV as I understand most of these don't have a DisplayPort. That's what it's designed to do anyway, but if you jump on HDMI 2.0 now you'll be the first to test it really. For me that's not even an option, I hook it through the sound system and that doesn't support HDMI 2.0 pass-through. I find it's not that essential at couch distance anyway, it's sitting up real close you notice it most.

Comment: Re:Tips? (Score 3, Informative) 108

by Kjella (#47954165) Attached to: NVIDIA Launches Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 GPUs

The R9 280 certainly doesn't count as low power (250W), the R9 285 is considerably better in that department (190W) and got some newer features to boot, with a $249 MSRP it should just barely squeeze inside your budget. To stay in your budget limit the nVidia alternative is GTX 760, but I wouldn't buy a Kepler card today, too hot and too noisy. Unfortunately there's not a Maxwell to match your specs, there's a gap between the GTX 750 Ti (which wouldn't be a performance upgrade) and GTX 970 (which blows your budget at $329).

Personally I was very surprised by the GTX 970 launch price though, the GTX 980 @ $549 was as expected but the 970 delivers 13/16ths of the processing power with the same memory size and bandwidth for over $200 less. I bought two to use in a SLI setup, in the games that scale nicely it's a kickass value. I suspect that by December this will have had some market effect at the $250 price point too, so I'd say check again then. Asking for advice 2-3 months out in a market that changes so quickly doesn't really make much sense.

Comment: Re:Some criticism (Score 1) 144

by Coryoth (#47953649) Attached to: KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

... a lot of people respond to this by saying the criticisms are stupid, that "if you know what you're doing" then you'll understand what's really going on, etc.

Yes; "if you're just willing to get your hands a little dirty and muck in and learn then you can bend the hugely complicated interface to your needs" they'll say; they'll complain that your just not willing to learn things, and thus it is your fault. Such people will inevitably state that they are "power users" who need ultimate configurability and are (unlike you) willing to learn what they need to to get that.

They will inevitably deride GNOME3 for it's complete lack of configurability. Of course they'll gloss over the fact that GNOME3 actually exposes pretty much everything via a javascript interface and makes adding/changing/extending functionality via javascript extensions trivial (GNOME3 even has a javascript console to let you do such things interactively). Apparently actually learning an API and coding completely custom interfacdes from myriad building blocks is "too much work". They are "power users" who require a pointy-clicky interface to actually configure anything. Even dconf is "too complicated".

For those of us who learned to "customize our desktop" back in the days of FVWM via scriptable config files calling perl scripts etc. it seems clear that "power users" are really just posers who want to play at being "super-customised". Almost all the modern DEs do have complete customisation available and accessible; some of them just use a richer (scripting) interface to get such things done.

Comment: Re:Simplification, n. (Score 4, Insightful) 144

by Kjella (#47953393) Attached to: KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

While you do have a point, I'd counter that there's no way to do anything with a computer unless there's an interface for it. For example if you go to Burger King 90%+ order as-is from the menu. But there's all sorts of simple instructions like "no onions" you can tell a clerk that you can't tell a computer. If you go to Whopper Lab you can see all the options of buns, patties, dressings and toppings available in none, light, normal and extra quantities and so on that would totally overwhelm the average customer. If the interface didn't exist, the option wouldn't exist but any given option will be the default something like 99.9% of the time.

I like being able to manage my computer, I don't like having to micromanage my computer unless there's a specific reason to. I consider having obvious buttons to find more advanced controls to be discoverable, not that you need to throw every option in my face to say hey, you could change this behavior if you wanted to. If it's possible to set a sensible default and I haven't seen a reason to go looking for it then I don't need to know. Non-discoverable features I consider things like touching corners that don't have any hint they have actions, buttons with no obvious function/that don't look like buttons, shortcuts you can't find except looking them up, type to search with no hints and so on.

That said, I generally prefer an expanding/alternate dialog over a multi-step dialog. If I know I need to go into the advanced settings every time because I'm the 1% using that function I'd rather have the ability to pin it to expand/use the advanced dialog by default, meaning it should be a superset of the basic dialog not just the extras. Since we're already in an advanced dialog having a checkbox "Use advanced display by default" at a standard location wouldn't hurt. Go into the advanced dialog once, check that box and next time you go straight to where you want to be. It is usually far more user-dependent than situation-dependent, so I think that'd work well for most everybody.

"The chain which can be yanked is not the eternal chain." -- G. Fitch

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