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Comment Re:What they really need (Score 1) 331

Right... Except that you can get a different city government that doesn't waste money on mass transit in situations where it doesn't work by voting for different people.

So, government that provides you with services you like is good government and government that provides other people with things they like is bad government that wastes money.

Let me make a note of that.

Comment Re:We are screwed. (Score 1) 35

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)

I'd like to know the difference between the high costs due to real scarcity and the high costs due to profit-taking.

I'd love to see a heat map of cell sites based on RF congestion and backhaul congestion to get an idea if the limits being imposed are really about site limits or mostly about extracting maximum profit.

Comment Friday Fun (Score 0, Flamebait) 23

Let me kick it off:

"Friggin' SJWs, the lot of 'em. They should just stop the UN from giving these stupid Nobel prizes, because they always go to feminazis anyway, like that Chemistry Nobel last week that they gave to Youyou Tu just because she was a woman. I mean, who even gets malaria anymore?"

Comment We are screwed. (Score 3, Insightful) 35

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) 73

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:either integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 or a po (Score 1) 73

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) 73

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) 73

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) 73

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) 73

'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) 73

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:A perfect example of why tech is cyclical.... (Score 2) 56

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).

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra