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Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 1) 372

by tlhIngan (#48897247) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

What I've found is that the cheap mouses the click wheel works ok. The MS and Logitech ones, of course.

Got me the middle button gets used most for opening a link in a new tab, and also has it's uses in CAD apps.

I don't know about you, but 3 button mice I find limiting - I invariably get mice with extra buttons to get me the extra functions you need. Instead of zoom mapped to the wheel (which is annoying as hell), I map it to two buttons so I click it when I need it, and map the wheel elsewhere.

And hell, I can map Paste to a button that's less vulnerable to hitting than the middle click when scrolling fast.

Comment: Re:bitcoin is circling the drain, but.... (Score 1) 75

by tlhIngan (#48897217) Attached to: Winklevoss Twins Plan Regulated Bitcoin Exchange

If the Winkletwins want to hype it up long enough so that I can dispose of the last of my BTC stash while 1BTC is still over US$200, I'm game.

Having bitcoins kept in a US bank seems to defeat the purpose of bitcoin, but it it helps me with my previous point, then by golly, full speed ahead.

And that's the entire point.

The WInklevoss bought BTC when it was probably $500 or higher - and supposedly they own around 10% of all BTC.

And now that the price crashed from $1300 each to $250 or so, well, damn, they lost a lot of money.

The whole point of the regulated exchange is supposedly to keep the price up and give it more legitimacy - I'm sure they saw that BTC was used for Silk Road and other illicit transactions and when Silk Road got busted, well, the fact its value was propped up by illegal activities hurt them. So they want to transform it into a legitimate business whose value is driven by "legitimate" economic activity over say, criminal activity.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 180

by tlhIngan (#48897205) Attached to: WhatsApp vs. WhatsApp Plus Fight Gets Ugly For Users

I myself am wondering why whatsapp/facebook hasn't simply sued them for trademark infringement. I mean they're clearly using the whatsapp name in a way that confuses the end user as to who owns the app.

Probably because WhatsApp Plus is distributed outside normal channels (otherwise it would be quickly removed from say, the App Store or Google Play) and is one of those where the developer just doesn't make themselves easily known.

Plus, sometimes it's easier to just cut access to it than to try to launch a lawsuit which costs a lot of money with little to show for it since there will probably be 10 more clones after the lawsuit is over. Just cutting off access is easier and cheaper.

Comment: Re:Not news (Score 1) 120

by tlhIngan (#48897187) Attached to: Linus Fixes Kernel Regression Breaking Witcher 2

And if only MS had a similar "never break userspace" rule that applied to even the most unbelievably "casual" of software too.

Hell, I broke four apps just going to 64-bit Windows 8 from... 32-bit Windows 8.

If that happens (and Microsoft is one of the best at not breaking userspace), WIndows development would stop overnight.

Most developers are crap - and I'm sure "never break userspcae" is routinely violated by Linux as well, just it breaks little apps that no one knows about and someone either fixes it or codes some other workaround.

Yes, developers are crap who are more apt to take a shortcut "because it works" over doing it the proper way. On Windows, it's easy - if you run a non-English version of Windows, or put it anywhere other than C, you'll find yourself with a "Program Files" folder soon enough because it was hard coded in over using the system APIs to retrieve it. Or you might end up with a C:\Windows even though Windows is installed on D: purely because someone hardcoded a path there.

Plus, there's tons of legacy code out there - a surprisingly large amount of code is still 16-bit (which breaks on 64-bit), usually more bespoke applications used in specialized areas, but hey, if you ever wondered why there's a 32-bit version of Windows despite most processors sold being 64-bit capable...

And to be honest, a LOT of Windows bloat is due to the compatibility - Microsoft codes around applications that took shortcuts. Apple took the opposite tactic - they refuse to support anything but published APIs - if your program broke because you did something "the easy way" then Apple pretty much says "screw you - you took the shortcut, you profited, now you pay". (And yes, new features often broke poorly-written applications. On Windows, this would mean Microsoft wouldn't introduce the feature, or have to work around it).

And yes, moving to 64-bit Windows breaks stuff - remember what I said about hardcoded apps? "Program Files" for 32-bit turns into "Program Files (x86)", breaking all sorts of stuff.

Vista broke practically everything, which was why it was demonized, but mostly because it showed how poorly Windows apps were developed - all those shortcuts meant ground breaking changes like administrator not being enabled all the time broke a lot of apps that required admin just to run.

Comment: Re:Seriously??? (Score 3, Insightful) 437

by tlhIngan (#48891385) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Anti-Virus Software In 2015? Free Or Paid?

Yes. Because these tests are pure FUD generation. These "tests" are designed specifically to give high marks to AV kit that has its heuristics engine to produce as many false positives as possible and low marks to AV kit that has a reasonable heuristics engine that looks for realistic threats and doesn't spam user with "this is a potential threat, upgrade for 9.99 now to fix" advertisements.

Nevermind that most heuristics engines will at one point or another detect a standard (Microsoft-signed) required Windows file as a virus and promptly "quarantine" it for you. Which just means Windows will either bluescreen or render your system unusable.

And that's a problem - because now AV is interfering with your computer - and if it isn't a Windows binary that gets hosed, it's a file one of your programs you use.

No, MSE will not catch a 0 day. No antivirus can. So they use heuristics to bridge the time between it's in the wild and when they push an update that will detect it. But there's a tradeoff - too aggressive and there will be a TON of false positives. More conservative (Like MSE) and you'll be more likely to miss a threat, but less likely that you'll clobber a file you really need. And for most people, that's more than acceptable tradeoff.

Especially when you combine it with safe surfing that blocks questionable URLs - available on every browser now (either powered by Google or Microsoft) that prevent you from grabbing questionable files.

Comment: Re:Translation: (Score 1) 155

by tlhIngan (#48885457) Attached to: Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10

Like they dumped CE

Windows CE is still around, actually.

Windows Embedded Compact is the new name for Windows CE - it's confusing as hell since it's similar to Windows Embedded (which is based off standard Windows), but the "Compact" (or "Automotive") version is Windows CE.

it was this way since Windows CE 7 which was renamed to Windows Embedded Compact 7. (Now they're at Compact 2013)

Comment: Re:Mental note: (Score 2) 178

by tlhIngan (#48879289) Attached to: Silk Road Journal Found On Ulbricht's Laptop: "Everyone Knows Too Much"

Mental note: When establishing a questionably legal site for definitely illegal transactions to be made through, don't keep any logs about it, nor your conversations regarding it.

Problem is, without the logs, no one would believe you!.

And by that, I mean when you eventually come around to wanting to brag about your achievements - without evidence that you actually did it, no one would believe you, and everyone thinks you're just trying to satisfy some ego thing.

Yes, that's how a lot of people get caught - they got away with it, but then their bragging gives them away to authorities.

And yet, it's human nature to want to brag about the achievement. After all, what's the point of doing something "amazing" when you can't brag about it afterwards?

Comment: Re:Just give the option to turn it off... (Score 1) 790

by tlhIngan (#48879227) Attached to: Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret

Unless you're blind, or happen to be looking the other way when the drunk in a prius bears down on you. Which is why some sort of fake engine noise will eventually be mandated (if it hasn't been already).

Not really.

Below 30kph or so, yes, engine noise dominates, but at that speed you're moving slow enough that injuries are far lower. And yes, an electric car is spooky quiet at those speeds.

Above 30kph, the majority of noise from a car comes from the tires, and the engine (be it ICE or electric) noise doesn't really figure in, save for those with loud pipes or other noise "enhancements".

Comment: Re:MOS technology built most of the cartridge ROMS (Score 2) 59

by tlhIngan (#48876673) Attached to: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Game Cartridge

Another fun fact: The original VCS games were programmed on a PDP-11 using a cross-assembler (!) and soon enough Atari upgraded to a VAX. When a game was finished they sent program tape to MOS who made the metal mask. The ROMs were pre-processed up to the metal deposition step. Then the final metal pattern was defined by whatever program was being written to ROM. This is one reason how MOS made them so cheaply: they mass produced ROM blanks and then programmed them with a single mask. I talked with an Atari old-timer about the process a couple of years ago. Great stories.

Actually, that's still done today - it's called mask programming and it's what happens if you need a bunch of chips pre-programmed with code. Practically every programmable chip has a mask-programmed variant you can use for mass production - you provide the manufacturer the code and they'll finish off the chip for you.

In fact, this is commonly done even at the ROM stage - when the chips are made, the software for the boot ROM is often not ready yet (it can be a couple of months between tapeout and when the chips actually get fabbed), so when a new SoC is being prototyped, the blocks are all there, except the ROM contents are not programmed yet. When the ROM is ready, a mask step is done to program it - this can be done after the chips are made, too.

Comment: Re:Crusty Hardware (Score 1) 187

by tlhIngan (#48875849) Attached to: User Plea Means EISA Support Not Removed From Linux

Vesa local bus was kind of like AGP in that people mostly used it for graphics cards. PCs back then still had ISA slots for everything else.

Since these couldn't autoconfigure back then you had to mess with IRQs and shit. I hated that after having come from the Amiga. Thank God they fixed that mess.

VLB was an aberration. It basically was a direct link to the 486 processor - it was so heavily tied that the Pentium basically ended it (since it wasn't a 486 and used a new bus).

VLB was fast, but it was basically a stopgap - the 486 was so fast, ISA was so slow (but had a ton of peripherals) that there was no expansion bus technology available (I suppose they could use NuBus, which was TI (and used by Apple), but that was the wrong endian) as PCI was not quite done yet.

The Pentium basically introduced PCI.

AGP was an offshoot of PCI meant to offer higher bandwidth because PCI, despite having 66+MHz and 64 bit extensions, pretty much everything was tied to the 32-bit, 33MHz variant.

AGP appeared to the system as a regular PCI bus when enumerated (it basically WAS PCI, just signalled faster) and lasted until PCI Express came out. Interestingly, we've not exceeded the capabilities of PCIe yet as you can often use fewer lanes and not see a drop in graphics performance.

Comment: Re:Silverlight isn't long for this world (Score 1) 55

by tlhIngan (#48866019) Attached to: Silverlight Exploits Up, Java Exploits Down, Says Cisco

Chrome does as of November as someone else pointed out, so problem solved. IE11 (gross) supported it only on Windows 8. Firefox appears to not support it.

Of course. This requires the EME (aka DRM) support in the browser. Netflix uses Silverlight because before then, they couldn't use a solution with DRM. Since the W3C created (with much protest) the EME spec, Chrome, Safari and IE implement it. Firefox refuses to out of pure ideology (no DRM, period!),

EME was pushed heavily by Netflix so they could move away from Silverlight, which is no longer supported by Microsoft.

Of course, the alternative would be to app-ify Netflix (which I think they also have on Windows 8), but then people complain about what it leads to - namely apps that really do nothing but show web pages so they want to return back to where everything could be done via a browser.

Comment: Re:Attitudes (Score 1) 221

by tlhIngan (#48865941) Attached to: The Current State of Linux Video Editing

The reason being that Windows is more than an OS and a collection of predictable platforms. A video on Windows is a video, accessed through the appropriate API. You don't dynamically link to half a dozen libraries, hope they are there, and crash (or demand installation) when it isn't. You install the codec and now everything can deal with it.

This is ultimately the problem with linux. There is no defined platforms anywhere. Software that wants to use anything can't ever guarantee that it will be there. They aren't part of the OS, but rather, part of the users defined installation.

The problem with defined platforms is ego.

I mean, people are rallying against SystemD, yet that's exactly what SystemD is for - to create a unified set of APIs for a lot of basic low level functionality - what was once done through dozens of libraries and shell scripts (meant to handle the dozens of different ways those libraries can be combined uniquely) can be done using a unified set of APIs.

Of course, it gets derided for doing this - since the existing system of lightweight programs glued together using shell scripts is more UNIX-y than a big monolith that helps provide a more generic interface.

I mean, it's almost expected that every app that deals with stuff Linux doesn't do well (Audio, printing, network, system service APIs) has to deal with the variations themselves. You know what, we did do that - back when the OS was called "DOS". Every application had to know about the peculiarities of printing, the peculiarities of sound and all that. Granted, ALSA and all that mean you don't need to know the exact sound card, but you still need to be able to interrogate and pick the right audio route, and heaven forbid that change.

It's why we have stuff like PulseAudio and CUPS - they abstract away the nastiness that is the lower level interface and provide a whole host of services so applications don't need to handle it themselves. (E.g., for audio - you just open and play, and your audio is mixed in with other apps audio. You don't have to worry about audio hardware disappearing - the routing changes underneath you (e.g., Bluetooth headset disconnects) and while audio pauses a tiny bit, it recovers and the app doesn't do a thing (unless it actually needed that hardware opened exclusive).

Ditto media playback - there's no media architecture in Linux to handle file formats, codecs and renderers in a unified fashion. Attempts to quickly break down over "free" codecs and "proprietary" or "patents".

Linux is great for servers that generally don't need many platform services, but on the desktop side the use cases are far more complex and varied that require coordination far more than in a simpler static server environment.

Comment: Re:Commission (Score 1) 237

by tlhIngan (#48859759) Attached to: Google Thinks the Insurance Industry May Be Ripe For Disruption

If Google enters the market, their efforts can quickly be matched, leaving no net advantage for Google.

Except being able to factor in your entire history into their actuarial tables.

I mean, if you're into car racing and participate in amateur racing events arranged via forums, then Google can take that into account because they know you visit those sites with regular frequency, and thus may by driving your car in ways a "regular" driver might not (even if it was on the track).

Or perhaps Google sees your children searching on driving schools and such, and knowing your vehicle will be used to learn on, jack up the premium (there's often an inexperienced driver surcharge for those just learning to drive).

Or maybe Google Hangouts notes you love to text and drive...

Comment: Re:Didn't we have this discussion... (Score 1) 289

by tlhIngan (#48859559) Attached to: Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes

They tried this in Canada with thermocams. The supreme court hit them so hard on that being a warrantless search that crown attorneys and police services across Canada are still smarting over it. There is precedent, and legal justifications are often carried from other countries on things like this.

Technically, the justification is "can the public get their hands on it and would it be expected to be used". If so, the police can use it - so things like telescopes, binoculars and other optics are perfectly legitimate tools.

Thermal cameras currently are not, but you can expect that to change because consumerization of thermal cameras has happened and they're now $200 items (Seek Thermal sells one for Android and iOS, and FLIR sells one for the iPhone 5/5s, with an upcoming Android and iPhone one later this year). At least to a limited extent.

Radar penetrators, currently are not available to the general public, so they aren't allowed without a warrant.

Comment: Re:Gadget guys vs photographers (Score 1) 192

by tlhIngan (#48856315) Attached to: Samsung's Advanced Chips Give Its Cameras a Big Boost

It's funny that you should mention the number of exposures and reference a 7D (a DSLR, with a mirror that needs to flip up for EVERY SINGLE SHOT!) in comparison with a MILC camera, which has far fewer moving parts.

And yet the flip up mirror has been going strong for many decades now for millions of shots in very rough conditions.

Surprisingly it's one of the more reliable mechanical technologies out there that works with practically zero maintenance despite harsh conditions, being tossed around, vibration, and very small precise mechanical parts.

Most pro photographers probably run many tens of thousands of shots through their cameras every year or so, with each one orchestrating a mirror that flips up and a shutter that rolls across the sensor (mechanical). Granted, there aren't as many gears, springs and other contraptions as of the old unpowered SLRs in the film era since it's all electronically orchestrated, but DSLRs have been proven quite reliable.

The herd instinct among economists makes sheep look like independent thinkers.