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Comment: Re: traffic apps (Score 1) 158

by rwa2 (#47797829) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

OneBusAway works great for that kind of thing in the Seattle / Puget Sound region. Though I still use Google Maps to provide the best transfer schedule, OBA is then good for tracking if the busses are running on time.

Unfortunately, I found that there are some dead ones where the busses aren't able to check in for a while... So the system might start to assume that a bus is running 15 minutes late, but then the bus will suddenly check in as on time just a few minutes before reaching the stop down the road from me. So. Mrrr

Comment: Re: Who cares about existing apps? (Score 1) 158

by rwa2 (#47797807) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

We had a lot of good apps back in the PalmOS days. I used to use JPluckX / Sunrise to download a compressed image of the day's Slashdot using the AvantSlash filter. I could even download the front page of any URLs provided as links, so I could even RTFA or see the AC's goatse links if I wanted to. Plucker for palmos was instantaneous on navigating and loading links from compressed data, much faster than using Avantgo at going back and forth between links, which was in turn much faster than downloading crap from 3g networks at the time over a mobile browser, which was in turn so much faster than trying to use the Slashdot beta AJAX / reactive / adaptive / redaptive interface we have now that doesn't even let you use the "open in new tab" feature that modern mobile browsers have.

I could get virtually all of /. on my device each day, ready to entertain me while I was on the subway or even out camping without cell service. And I couldn't make any comments, so everyone wins.

Yeah, I feel badly for you young'uns, we had things so great back in the day.

+ - This 'SimCity 4' Region With 107 Million People Took Eight Months of Planning

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "Peter Richie spent eight months planning and building a megacity in vanilla SimCity 4, and the end result is mind-boggling: 107.7 million people living in one massive, sprawling region.
"Traffic is a nightmare, both above ground and under," Richie said. "The massive amount of subway lines and subway stations are still congested during all times of the day in all neighborhoods of each and every mega-city in the region. The roadways are clogged at all times, but people still persist in trying to use them.""

Comment: Re:Old-school is best (Score 1) 377

by rwa2 (#47778825) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

Doesn't exactly have to be Old-skool... the best games (or franchises, even) will change the way you look at the world. Some of the essentials:

Simcity (4 is probably the "best" one, if you were to play no others)
Civilization (II is the classic version, though it seems like they got a lot right with V)
Ultima VII (runs well under the modern exult engine)
Sims (III, no expansions necessary. You can pretend it's an architecture program instead of a dollhouse, that was originally how it was intended)
EVE Online (do the free month, that's enough to get your fill of pretty graphics, frustrating controls, and spreadsheet/economy engineering)
Any top-rated FPS (if you've played one FPS, you've played them all, though some have better single-player stories, and others have better team play)
Portal (I, and then II)
Grand Theft Auto (III:SA is the best, though I've heard good things about V. All of them are nice little satirical time capsules, though)
Starcraft (II BW , and maybe III, just so you know what a nice RTS is like)

Here's my running list of games I want to introduce my kids to:

Comment: Hello there! (Score 2) 544

by rwa2 (#47551773) Attached to: Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

I had been using an HTC myTouch Slide 4G (doubleshot) , and the MTS3G (espresso) before that.

It was great, I would always win at the little online "pictionary" games since I could type out the answer faster than practically anyone else. Also, it was good for reading in a supine or other odd positions, because I could set it to only switch to landscape mode if the keyboard was slid out... it's a constant annoyance to me when other phones switch orientations because the accelerometer is giving readings it doesn't cope with well.

The MTS4G was not supposed to run Android 4, but thanks to CyanogenMOD...

Gradually, all of the apps on it got slower and less responsive, and I would gradually get rid of widgets and apps that would run into the background until I just had the bare essentials... Chrome, Maps, and Hangouts. But what finally did it in was that the SD card would get corrupted every time I let the batteries run all the way down.

Finally broke down and picked up a Nexus 5. The screen is big enough, esp. in landscape mode, to hunt and peck out the keys with reasonable accuracy. Unfortunately, Google hasn't made every app work in landscape mode, and some critical things (like the launcher and the frickin' Google search widget) force you to enter stuff on the tiny portrait mode keyboard. I think CyanogenMOD's Trebuchet launcher app was better with this, and I'm eagerly awaiting it to go stable on the Nexus 5 so I can switch over.

I've also been looking for a good Bluetooth keyboard case, but haven't found one yet. There are several good-looking ones for the Nexus 7, though. That would certainly scratch the itch for me. Of course, not many Android apps have good keyboard support, but they're out there... Jota+ , VXConnectBot, etc.

As an aside, after the last update to 4.4.4, my wife's Nexus 4 started getting noticeably less responsive too. Hoping it's just a matter of going through and clearing some of the Dalvik cache, and not because Google is (intentionally?) making older devices obsolete faster by adding in too many bloated features in their core apps :P

Comment: Re:Not since Doom II (Score 1) 154

Was that perhaps the day you got a bigger monitor? Motion sickness is primarily influenced by what goes on in your peripheral vision. I've only ever gotten motion sickness on sims with wraparound displays on the sides, and it's quite awesome. Still saving up for extra screens for my gaming rig at home so I can have those side panels.


+ - Denver Airpot Rental Car Agencies Inundated With Pot Left Behind By Travelers->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Rental car workers at Denver International Airport say pot tourists are regularly leaving them with marijuana that travelers don’t want to try to carry through DIA.

“It happens quite often,” a rental car employee at a national chain told a CBS4 employee. “Every couple of days. I just throw it in the trash.” At another major rental car company, an employee told CBS4 pot is handed over to employees “pretty frequently but depends on if there is an occasion.”"

Link to Original Source

+ - The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train->

Submitted by MatthewVD
MatthewVD (2603547) writes "Almost half a century ago, New York Central Railroad engineer Don Wetzel and his team bolted two J47-19 jet engines, throttled up the engines and tore down a length of track from Butler, Indiana to Stryker, Ohio at almost 184 mph. Today, the M-497 still holds the record for America's fastest train. This is the story of how it happened."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 502

Yeah, the Lenovo T420s has an array of mics up top around the webcam, and in theory they can be used to filter out noise from typing and be tuned to pick up the voice of the talker and not the speakers. But I went through all that calibration and it still sucks... it does filter out a lot of the keyboard noise but it also attacks the voice as well. Maybe someday Lenovo/Conexant will release better, more tunable drivers, but I haven't seen anything positive on any of the Lenovo support message boards yet.

In Lenovo's defense, I bought a z710 for my wife, and it appears to work great with Skype and stuff out of the box (though I've never sampled the audio quality on the far end of the call). It's a nice little desktop replacement box, at the time probably the cheapest laptop I could find with a 1920x1080 LCD and a half-decent NVidia GPU. Of course, it still has an Intel 4000 integrated GPU as well for "hybrid power savings"... you can't disable the iGPU, and the thing would BSOD with any 3D applications using the Nvidia GPU until I installed the right combination of driver updates relatively recently.

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 502

Onboard sound sucks.

My work laptop (Lenovo T420s) is useless for microphone audio (some Conexant chip). The company keeps wanting us to use Skype and Lync and SoftVTC to do meetings, but all the people who try to use the onboard audio are inaudible (because the built-in noise cancellation keeps ducking their voice), or if they manage to dig 5 dialogs deep to disable the noise cancellation (with an option that gets reset every reboot), they have lots of system noise over their voices (even if they're using an external mic. ). So everyone dials in via phone for group VTCs and mutes their PCs.

I have an expensive Jabra headset with a USB dongle. That gives me pretty clean audio. Should be able to use bluetooth too, but that takes more driver updates and even then it's still a pain.

My gaming PC has somewhat nicer onboard audio, but even with a S/PDIF link to my Logitech Z-560 speakers, I still get a hiss whenever the OS turns on and "opens" the audio device. Would be nice to be able to input digital audio somehow for Skype, but I ended up just plugging in a cheap USB webcam with a digital mic instead.

Still, it's kinda sad that any cheap mobile phone has a better microphone with AEC (for speakerphone use) and NC than you can get on most computers.

"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." -- G. B. Stearn