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Comment: Re:I Have a Friend Who Is a Top-Shelf Cabinetmaker (Score 1) 368

by toddestan (#47549335) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

However, their stuff ain't cheap. A Mercedes S-class will usually cost more than 5 Toyotas. It will probably last as long as 3 or 4. The Mercedes-Benz company is a pipsqueak, compared to Toyota.

Are you kidding? Mercedes is garbage nowadays. Ever since they bought out Chrysler, their quality went into tho toilet. I'm in Minnesota, and I'm accustomed to seeing 10-15 year old Mercedes that are total rust buckets on their last legs driving around. Granted, this is salt country, but I also see Mercedes from the 70's and 80's driving around with little to no rust so it hasn't always been this way, which is kind of sad. A new Toyota will easily last longer as new Mercedes while costing less to purchase and maintain, and IMHO the quality of new Toyotas has also been sliding for about the last decade.

Comment: Re:user error (Score 1) 710

Leaving a computer on all the time causes the mechanical parts to wear out. The bearings in the hard drives won't last as long, and the fans won't last nearly as long. Electrolytic capacitors have finite lifetimes, many of them are only rated for 10,000 hours at their rated voltage (that's only slightly longer than a year!). Tin whiskers will grow faster. A computer that is left on will be exposed to all the power spikes and brownouts that come down the wall power instead of just those that happen to hit when the computer is running (granted a good UPS helps here). A computer that's on all the time will also accumulate dust and lint faster, and that can also shorten the lifespan if you don't keep on top of it.

I've found that my computers that I regularly turn off (or sleep) when I'm not using them typically outlast the ones that have to be left on all the time for whatever reason. In both cases, the failures are almost always the mechanical parts such as the fans and hard drives, or the power supply. While it's true that thermal cycling stresses things like the CPU, chipset, memory. GPU, etc. those parts I've found to be very reliable no matter how I used them and they fail very rarely. Well, maybe slighly more so for GPUs.

Comment: Re:Hard finding any worth it these days (Score 1) 502

Soundcards generally aren't high voltage or high current, and those are the situations where the bad capacitors made themselves known. That's not to say that it isn't the caps though, especially if the sound card was in a computer case that tended to run hot.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 502

Assuming that the scale setting controls some gain stage before the ADC, all they really need is enough bit resolution to match the number of vertical pixels on the screen. Considering some the screens I've seen put into digital oscilloscopes an 8 bit ADC would be good enough. Now, a fully analog scope with a CRT wouldn't have this particular problem.

Comment: Re:Regular People (Score 1) 608

by toddestan (#47435791) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

In many ways SharePoint is like how he describes. Sure, you can take the built-in tools and build yourself a website that can do quite a bit on its own. But want to go outside of what the canned stuff can do and create something custom? Ever look at the code that create those SharePoint pages? Yeah, that's not accessible to normal humans in any way.

Comment: Re:Why do we have screen savers? (Score 1) 349

by toddestan (#47372899) Attached to: Bug In Fire TV Screensaver Tears Through 250 GB Data Cap

Vista's taskbar was pretty dark. I actually like the default theme for Vista myself over 7's.

Also, you can auto-hide the bars in Gnome 3 by holding down the Win Key + Alt and right clicking on the bar, then selecting Properties, and checking the auto-hide option. Handy if you're stuck with a laptop with a crappy low resolution screen.

Comment: Re:Old hardware... (Score 1) 176

by toddestan (#47342057) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is It Feasible To Revive an Old Linux PC Setup?

I think I've got at least one of everything you mentioned laying around.

If power consumption is a concern, I would try for an early Coppermine P3 processor. These usually have the 'E" suffix, such as the 600EB. These processors usually used less than 20W, which was pretty good compared to the P2 which were more like 45W chips.

If you get your hands on a Dell Optilex or XPS from this era, these are generally good, solid machines but keep mind that the while the motherboards use the ATX power connector, the pin out is not ATX, so don't mix and match or you'll blow something up. HP Vectras aren't bad machines either.

Keep in mind that a lot these P2/P3 boards won't accept 512MB SDRAM modules (these modules seemed to be primarily for the early socket 478 boards that used SDRAM). You can try, but unless you find documentation that says otherwise assume the max memory is 256MB times the number of memory slots.

Hard drives are kind of a crapshoot. I've found a lot of drives from the era that have been sitting for the past few years will still start up and run and seem to work fine for a few days, then will just crap out. Usually just long enough for you to get everything set up :) You may want to invest in a IDE to CF adapter, or possibly one of the IDE to SATA adapters, or seeing if you can find a new IDE drive rather than trusting a 15 year old drive. If you do go with an old drive, run it through one of those burn-in programs for a few days before trusting it.

Comment: Re:The headline is juicy, but hides a real problem (Score 1) 212

I'm not so sure about televisions. A lot of people replaced their CRTs with LCDs and plasmas, so most of the people I know have televisions that are less than 10 years old. Many of them less than 5 years. From what I've seen of the build quality of most modern TVs, they'd be lucky to get 10 years out of them if they are used regularly, so I think the era of buying a TV and keeping it for 20-30 years is probably over for most people.

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson