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Comment: My first Windows (Score 1) 386

by spaceyhackerlady (#49759189) Attached to: 25 Years Today - Windows 3.0

Windows 3.0 was the first version I used to any significant degree. It looked so high-tech, though to 2015 eyes it looks like something from the old stone age. It did some cool stuff. It also gave us General Protection Faults, the predecessor to the Blue Screen Of Death.

For a long time I recommended Windows 98 to non-technical users. Some people claimed there was a USB implementation for Windows 95, but after careful study I have come to the conclusion they were mistaken. My first exposure to Windows 95 was an early alpha (I worked for the evil empire at the time) that crashed and required reformatting the hard disc after attempting to reconfigure the mouse.

I was intrigued by some of the other options out there. I sent my resume to Quarterdeck - I thought DESQview was neat - but only got a thanks-but-no-thanks postcard back.

...laura

Comment: Fiber is fast! (Score 5, Insightful) 221

Fiber is amply fast.

The bottleneck is the cavalier attitude of web designers to network resources. You do not need to load 25 different URLs (DNS lookups, plus autoplay video and all the usual clickbait junk) to show me a weather forecast. Or a Slashdot article, for that matter...

...laura

Comment: Sounds about right (Score 1) 361

by spaceyhackerlady (#49692967) Attached to: What Happens To Our Musical Taste As We Age?

I came of age in the late '70s and early '80s, and my musical tastes reflect that.

There have been some new discoveries along the way. I adore Sheryl Crow, and thought Lady Gaga was a breath of fresh air. With those exceptions (and a few others) I haven't heard much of interest since the early '90s.

I remain baffled by rap.

...laura

Comment: Dinosaur? Hipster? (Score 1) 461

If I saw somebody with an aol.com email I'd wonder if they were a tech dinosaur, a total hipster, or somebody who had simply stuck with something that worked.

I've had my Hotmail email address since 1996, prior to Microsoft taking it over. I've stuck with it because it works. It does exactly what Hotmail promised from the start, providing email that is independent of my ISP or employer.

...laura

Comment: Yes (Score 2) 435

by spaceyhackerlady (#49674309) Attached to: Will Robot Cars Need Windows?

Yes, they do.

An early example of getting it wrong was the City & South London Railway, the first deep-level underground rail line in London. The designers of the rolling stock didn't bother with windows because there was, supposedly, nothing to see. Passengers hated the "padded cells". Even if all you see is tunnel walls rushing by, people need to see outside.

I could see the utility of an airliner with no windows but cameras and viewing screens - it would solve some engineering problems - but for a car, the simplest is still the best. Windows.

...laura

Comment: Details, please (Score 1) 166

I see lots of announcements - not just this one - shouting about their new microarchitectures, how cool they are, the amazing benefits, and so on. But documentation of exactly what the new microarchitecture is, exactly what it does, seems thin-to-non-existent. Maybe I'm not looking in the right place.

All "big" processors nowadays have fancy pipelines, out-of-order execution, branch prediction, multiple cores, and so on. Fine. But how is Zen different from past microarchitectures? What makes it revolutionary?

Details, please.

...laura

Comment: How we do it in Canada (Score 5, Informative) 36

by spaceyhackerlady (#49581061) Attached to: World-First Remote Air Traffic Control System Lands In Sweden

In Canada we have an intermediate step between untowered uncontrolled airports and controlled airports with towers, Mandatory Frequency airports. They have a ground station with whom you must communicate for arrival and departure. They dispense information and coordinate activities, but do not give clearances. As pilot you make those decisions.

An example MF airport I've flown to is Kamloops, BC (CYKA). On initial contact the ground station told me the wind, altimeter setting and active runway, but also advised me of skydiving activity north of the airport. Since this might conflict on the usual left-hand circuit pattern, they suggested I fly a right hand circuit on approach. I did, and landed. This wasn't binding on me - the decision and responsibility were mine - but it was a good idea.

...laura

Comment: Re:Correctly incorrect units (Score 2) 172

by spaceyhackerlady (#49545459) Attached to: I spend most of my time ...

If they used reasonable numbers of significant figures I wouldn't mind so much. Since the altitude is specified to three significant figures (FL350), how about 10.7 km? The Air New Zealand system only did metric, BTW.

A later flight (Air Canada) had the bilingual in-flight thingy giving U.S.-bastardized units in English, and metric units (with, as usual, too many significant figures) in French.

...laura

Comment: Correctly incorrect units (Score 1) 172

by spaceyhackerlady (#49540963) Attached to: I spend most of my time ...

I just got back from a vacation in Australia, and was annoyed that the in-flight display thingy insisted on displaying everything in "correct" units.

Showing the plane's altitude as 10,668 meters is all well and good, but is missing the point. Even a pilot from New Zealand (I was flying Air New Zealand) would have given the altitude as 35,000 feet. Flight level 350, strictly speaking, but few non-aviators would know what that meant.

Yes, I know they use metric altitudes and flight levels in Russia and China...

...laura

Comment: Illegal example (Score 2) 140

by spaceyhackerlady (#49398967) Attached to: Building an NES Emulator

I wouldn't have minded seeing an example of one of those illegal opcodes and how what it did was useful.

Brooks called such things "curios". Side-effects of invalid operations that people had started to use, and that had to be considered part of the specification.

My policy (seconded by my boss) is that I do not document such things. If a hack is documented people start to use it, then we have to support and maintain it.

...laura

Comment: Well past its Best Before date (Score 1) 662

by spaceyhackerlady (#49347751) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

Top Gear was enormous fun at first, but it's gotten stale. It's lost its way. Maybe it is time for a re-think.

Like just about everybody, my picks for a new co-host include Sabine Schmitz and Vicki Butler-Henderson. But they have to look very carefully at the show and decide if its worth continuing first. I'm not convinced it is.

The original Top Gear production morphed in to Fifth Gear, which is definitely jazzed up fro the old Top Gear it started as.

...laura

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.

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