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Comment: Re:cant even get the keyboard right on their lapto (Score 1) 93

by rsmith-mac (#47683919) Attached to: Not Just For ThinkPads Anymore: Lenovo Gets OK To Buy IBM Server Line

Asus laptops it turns out have excellent touchpads. Even the old eee 900 had a small but otherwise very good one.

I'd agree, but only up to the point where they went multi-touch. On my UX21A the touchpad isn't very good; palm rejection is poor and two-finger scrolling is often confused for pinch & zoom. Compared to Apple it's not nearly as reliable.

Comment: Cutting Edge For The Time, But Outdated For 2010's (Score 5, Interesting) 44

by rsmith-mac (#47645517) Attached to: Memo to Users: SpamCop Winding Down Webmail Service

It's a shame to see the service go, but I can't say I'm surprised.

When it was introduced the SpamCop email service was cutting edge for its time, offering extremely reliable spam filtering at a time when most other email services were capable of no more than a token effort. With the ability to utilize RBLs and even select which RBLs to use, and later features like greylisting, it was far more effective of a server side solution than anything else. Heck, some spammers wouldn't even hit spamcop addresses due to the fact that it just increased their odds of being quickly reported and added to the SpamCop RBL.

However it's generally outgrown its usefulness, which is reflected in the fact that the service has so few users and now is shutting down. Most email services are utilizing RBLs these days in some form - if only through SpamAssassin - and the largest services such as Google and Hotmail see so much email that they are second-to-none in their ability to identify spam based on heuristics alone. This means the SpamCop email service no longer has the large advantage in spam prevention it once held, and in some ways it may as well be worse since it can't rival Google's heuristics.

Plus the service has generally grown stale. The Horde webmail interface is functional, but badly out of date and lacking the functionality of Google & co's webmail interfaces. And the service itself has grown into disrepair; there have been repeated hardware failures and CESmail (the company that actually provides the service) has been slow in repairing them and responding to user support tickets.

Anyhow, the SpamCop email service lived a good life, but as is the case for many Internet services it has failed to adapt with the times and is now justifiably on its deathbed. The good news is that the SpamCop RBL itself is unaffected (it has been owned and operated by Cisco for several years now), so naming confusion aside the all-important RBL will continue offering spam protection for users world-wide.

Comment: Re:WOW (Score 1) 52

OpenCL is not available on iOS. Nor does it look like it ever will be. Apple still promotes the OpenCL project, but for GPU compute on iOS devices they have indicated that they are putting their efforts behind their new Metal API, which is generic enough that it can be used for graphics or compute.

Comment: 9 Days Relative To What? (Score 3, Insightful) 35

by rsmith-mac (#47641469) Attached to: Online Tool Flagged Ebola Outbreak Before Formal WHO Announcement

TFA doesn't make this clear which WHO announcement this tool is being compared to, which makes it really hard to judge the effectiveness of HealthMap.

The WHO declared the Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern only 2 days ago on August 8th. However I am not aware - nor can I find - any record of the WHO declaring an epidemic, as TFA states. (Does the WHO even declare epidemics?)

If HealthMap is being compared to the PHEIC announcement, then for all practical purposes its useless as this outbreak has been going on for some number of weeks now. More likely HealthMap is being compared to an earlier WHO announcement, but without knowing exactly when that is, there's no way to tell if the HealthMap analysis would have actually been of any use.

Comment: Re:As someone who had the DPC3939 (Score 1) 224

by rsmith-mac (#47628237) Attached to: The Hidden Cost of Your New Xfinity Router

Yes, Comcast is EOLing DOCSIS 2.0 modems, and will eventually be EOSing them. Once a modem is EOL Comcast will no longer provision it (so no new accounts/installations), and farther down the line when it's EOS Comcast will shut off access for that modem entirely.

DOCSIS 3.0 is 8 years old now, so DOCSIS 2.0 modems are quite old. Furthermore DOCSIS 3.0 introduces multiple upstream and downstream channels, which lets operators better balance traffic over multiple channels. Hence their interest in getting rid of DOCSIS 2.0 modems.

Comment: Re:I owned a WiiU for 1 month..... (Score 1) 203

by rsmith-mac (#47579615) Attached to: Nintendo Posts Yet Another Loss, Despite Mario Kart 8

Confirming the above.

Also, I'm not sure what exact problem the GP ran into with their Pro Controller, but at least in 2014 the Wii U can be started and controlled completely from the Pro Controller; no gamepad is required for the menu system. (Though games can still require it)

Comment: Monopoly Claims Are Only A Cover Story (Score 5, Insightful) 110

by rsmith-mac (#47572145) Attached to: Chinese Government Probes Microsoft For Breaches of Monopoly Law

Unsurprisingly, the monopoly claims are only a cover story for other policy issues with China. As TFA even points out:

China confirmed it is investigating whether Microsoft Corp. broke its antimonopoly laws, the latest sign of growing commercial and policy tensions between the U.S. and China that are roiling technology companies in both countries.

The investigation represents a new friction point between the countries following disclosures about U.S. National Security Agency surveillance and revelations of hacking of U.S. networks by China's military.

"There's a digital Cold War going on between the U.S. and China," said Alvin Kwock, an analyst with J.P. Morgan.

"The Chinese government has seized on using the [antimonopoly law] to promote Chinese producer welfare and to advance industrial policies that nurture domestic enterprises," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents major U.S. corporations,wrote in an April letter to federal officials.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, they likely would have been better off actually breaking the law, because at least that would result in a trial over the truth (and some ill-gotten gains in the process). Instead, because this is a political maneuver by the Chinese, Microsoft is being used as a scapegoat here. Any resulting punishment for Microsoft will be based on the state of Sino-American relations and whether China wants to harm the US by proxy. Which given how things currently stand, MS is looking rather screwed.

Comment: Re:Anybody know? (Score 1) 234

by rsmith-mac (#47556645) Attached to: Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

Would the developer/publisher have a 'clean' version that is then put through some sort of SecuROM conversion step, or would you have to go further back, and deeper, into the development process to cleanly rip it out?

It's enough of a pain in the ass that it's not worth doing another build without SecuROM, especially since they'd also need to do another QA cycle to make sure they didn't break it for paid customers. It's far easier to just distribute the last version as-is and generating extra keys to hand out as if it's a regular paid copy. In other words, you are correct: "as little effort as possible was put into modifications for the new distribution".

Comment: Re:At fucking last (Score 1) 194

by rsmith-mac (#47518779) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

No, since Firefox is currently limiting the use of this plugin to WebRTC - which basically means it's not available for anything actual users want to do, such as watch html5 video.

Thankfully, that is incorrect. The OpenH.264 decoder can be used for HTML video elements. Though the last I heard Mozilla is still working on AAC audio licensing.

https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2013/10/30/video-interoperability-on-the-web-gets-a-boost-from-ciscos-h-264-codec/

Firefox already supports H.264 for the video element using platform codecs where they are available, but as noted in my last blog post on the topic, not all OSes ship with H.264 included. Provided we can get AAC audio decoders to match, using Cisco's OpenH264 binary modules allows us to extend support to other platforms and uses of H.264.

Comment: Re:My SSD already encrpyts its contents (Score 1) 91

by rsmith-mac (#47518249) Attached to: Intel Launches Self-Encrypting SSD

Exactly. Mainstream PC SSDs have been self-encrypting for a couple of years now; in Intel's case they've supported full disk encryption since the SSD 320 released in 2011. This is both to allow the easy use of encryption on the end-user side (ATA password), but it also makes it easy to wipe the drive without immediately zeroing out pages, as you have noted.

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