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Comment: Re:DirectX is obsolete (Score 3, Insightful) 129

by wierd_w (#48901441) Attached to: DirectX 12 Lies Dormant Within Microsoft's Recent Windows 10 Update

Windows is surprisingly resistant in the recent versions. The problem is that it is a complex piece of software with many parts, and no software is perfect.

Microsoft is the dominant player in the corporate workstation world, so it makes sense to target their platform for corporate and state espionage, and to zombify them for various other purposes that need a fleet of drone computers to perform.

This means that Windows has a large attack surface on both fronts, so it is aggressively being pummeled with attacks.

It is impossible to make the OS completely hackproof (due to issues related to the halting problem), which is why viruses are still a thing. They are getting more and more sophisticated as Microsoft makes it harder to do virus-like-things in their OS.

(The nastiest ones use the OS's own security model against the user. Nasty stuff there.)

Asking for perfect virus protection is like asking for perfect birth control. It does not exist, and the "best" solution is abstinence. (In this case, Not running every EXE you find on the internet.) As they say in the medical profession, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Same way in preventing viral infections for PCs.

All wrapping each process inside a sandbox would do, is move the focus of the virus programmers to breaking the sandbox, and getting control of the hypervisor. Trust me, the motivation would be there (both mental and monetary), and it would eventually happen. Sandboxing isnt a silver bullet.

The problem I have with modern windows is not what is under the hood-- it's what they are doing with the userspace. The UI is horrible! It's like Microsoft is taking every "popular" thing, and gluing it to the UI like a tawdry bauble. "let's stick twitter integration icons EVERYWHERE! Facebook too! You know what, let's display thumbnails of our news service's top story every time you click the start button!" and all that shit.

No. How about "I want to do my work now, go away." eh microsoft?

There's nothing wrong with providing the OPTION to have that level of deep hentai tentacle penetration with social networking if the user really wants that-- but it should not be a mainlined feature that is assumed to be on.

I dont have a problem with windows concerning what's under the hood. I have issues with how they are trying to engineer user experience and user consumption. They are trying to dictate. They confuse that with "Leading." It is NOT the same thing. It will continue to kill them until they learn their error.

Comment: Re:DirectX is obsolete (Score 4, Interesting) 129

by wierd_w (#48900735) Attached to: DirectX 12 Lies Dormant Within Microsoft's Recent Windows 10 Update

OpenGL (or rather, some variants thereof) is the leading API for use on portable devices.

OpenGL lives more places than DirectX does. DirectX is very much a microsoft platform only technology. Granted, it does a bang up job there, but it does not have the "total" market penetration that OpenGL does. An OpenGL based project can be more easily ported to more disparate devices with less trouble than a DirectX based project can.

I dont mind DirectX, in fact, I think it has a great niche for the PC gaming niche that windows PCs still hold title to. The problem is that Microsoft keeps trying to shoehorn their windows OS onto those other disparate device platforms. (Windows tablets and phones)

Rather than just accept that the market has changed, microsoft desperately wants to remain "The" gatekeeper for all things digital, and it just wont happen. They should just accept that Enterprise PCs and PC gaming are their bitches, and social media and mobile computing are Apple's and Google's bitches, and just focus on what's in their box to make it the best possible offering in those categories.

Instead, they keep trying to force this vision of "microsoft everywhere", and it's destroying them.

Comment: Re:DirectX is obsolete (Score 5, Insightful) 129

by wierd_w (#48900593) Attached to: DirectX 12 Lies Dormant Within Microsoft's Recent Windows 10 Update

Microsoft WANTS directX to remain relevant in the modern multiplatform environment. That's why they are bending over backwards trying to get people to buy windows phones.

Sadly for them, Android beat them to the punch for "Affordable smartphone OS", while apple beat them to the punch for "Luxury smartphone OS". This leaves microsoft scrambling for marketshare in the smartphone space.

MS keeps trying to reinvent windows "For a new era", but keeps failing miserably.

MS needs to realize that PCs arent the preferred gateways for social media like they used to be, (Phones have mostly replaced home computers for this) so social media integration with the OS on a PC is just stupidness. No reason why social media cant use web apps tailored for home PCs of course, but OS integration is not required nor desired. PCs have a pretty stable market niche if microsoft would stop trying to be idiots and realize that Peak PC is long passed.

PCs have 2 major remaining market niches:

1) Enterprise(/educational) workstations (Like, for doing WORK on.)
2) PC Gaming

Microsoft is still zealously trying to pretend that it owns the whole online media consumption experience, and keeps trying to integrate unwanted features into their OS to make it "Easier" to do social networking and other non-productive tasks which are better accomplished with a smartphone or tablet. This is to the detriment of the first market niche they currently hold; enterprise/educational workstations. Allowing users to more easily waste time on facebook is not a value-add for corporations looking to upgrade their installed workstation bases.

Really, I have to wonder what Microsoft is thinking these days.

Comment: Re:Hey! I've been gypped! (Score 1) 145

by wierd_w (#48897179) Attached to: NVIDIA Responds To GTX 970 Memory Bug

I have an Aureal vortex 1 PCI soundcard tucked inside my linux box. Linux knows what it is, even if modern windows doesn't. (Got it in a box of soundcards I got from a friend)

That's fine, I run linux as the daily driver. Vortex 1 is soundblaster compatible, so old games are happy with it. That means I can run on real hardware and get sound when booting my retro-gaming images.

Many of my games get bitchy if I dont use MSDOS 6.22.(and instead use freedos or dos7.10) I have a separate image for them.

For me, the trick is getting a modern USB gamepad to work on real hardware in DOS. Keyboard+Mouse games work fine, but ones that are benefited with a gamepad are kinda boned, since they are looking for the MPU401 interface type gamepad. I have yet to find a good solution for that. The vortex 1 has a real MPU401 port on it, but I threw out all those crappy oldschool joysticks/pads ages ago. I really like my USB gamepad I use under linux/wine.

Comment: Re:Hey! I've been gypped! (Score 4, Insightful) 145

by wierd_w (#48896875) Attached to: NVIDIA Responds To GTX 970 Memory Bug

I dont know? I remember all kinds of things.

I DO have a large collection of old retro DOS games, some of which are still quite fun to play, but which dont run worth SHIT on WINE or modern windows. (and cruising inside dosbox just doesn't feel the same. MoSlo and real hardware feel like the genuine experience.)

My inability to forget legacy shit sometimes pays off, when I come in contact with a poor IT wage slave who has to maintain legacy CNC equipment. (Sometimes phone equipment too, but mostly CNC equipment) Things like 2D vinyl cutters, old PCB milling/masking machines, etc. Those things cost millions of dollars when new, and despite being ancient beyond words inside by modern standards, the owners rarely consider "buying a new one" an acceptable solution, as long as said expensive legacy devices can be coaxed into continuing to make product. Typically, these devices simply cannot be upgraded to a more modern OS, for multitudinous reasons. The most commonplace one is that there simply arent any drivers for the custom PCI (or even ISA!) cards inside them, and the drivers that do exist require realmode level control over the hardware to work (Or the control software is so poorly written that it can't work on anything newer, etc.).

Sometime last year, the topic of how to reduce the need for re-imaging win9X installations came up here on slashdot. (I forget the story.. does not matter) A poster was in the undesirable position of having to maintain such a legacy device, and my inability to forget legacy shit paid off for him. I told him that he could basically make his legacy devices damned near maintenance free by using syslinux as the bootloader with an ext2 partition holding a small (512mb or so) disk image, and using memdisk. System acts goofy? Just reboot it. Fresh, clean image each and every time. Because the actual HDD is formatted with an EXT flavor OS, the win9x running does not see it or use it for anything. The actual HDD never gets written to. Switching out an aging IDE disk with a CF->IDE adapter, this works out just fine. The flash is never written to, just read from, even when windows is running.

He was having problems where he would have to re-image his CF cards every few months because of how intrinsically shitty and unstable win9x was. He was VERY interested in running win9x from a ramdisk. I never heard back, but I hope it worked out for him.

As for why I can't seem to ever forget? Who knows. I'm just unlucky maybe?

I can shit out a config.sys and autoexec.bat right from the dos prompt, straight from memory even to this day.

Comment: Re:Hey! I've been gypped! (Score 3, Informative) 145

by wierd_w (#48895903) Attached to: NVIDIA Responds To GTX 970 Memory Bug

Silly person!

Use UMBPCI instead of EMM386, and use CTMOUSE for the mouse driver.

(assuming your modern system still knows how to play right in real mode anyway. Many modern chipsets have problems with ISA style DMAs, which makes using the hardware UMBs free with UMBPCI can have unpredictable results. For such systems, you are stuck with EMM386 doing protected mode memory reassignments, and gobbling down a big chunk of conventional. Blech.)

Really, there are much better memory managers that came about since the DOS days (FreeDOS is still a living project for devices that simply must run DOS. Industrial vinyl cutters and the like come to mind), and you can reasonably get over 568k conventional free with little hassle.

Comment: Re:hp 3 button mouse (Score 2) 420

by wierd_w (#48895845) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Whoo hoo!

You know, pretty much the only reason why HP makes these (or orders them from actual manufacturers and brands them) is because there is obscene demand for them for CAD/CAM workstations. Many CAM suites use combinations of button clicks to maneuver in the 3D design space, including the use of the middle button.

Dassault Systemes CATIA and Siemens Unigraphics come instantly to mind.

HP has an industrial workstation lineup that they offer to small and midsize companies that need fairly high end engineering workstations, and these mice are a usual staple.

No, the crazy clicking involved means a scroll wheel mouse is just not up to the challenge.

(1st hand experience.)

At my last job, I literally wore one of these mice out. Guess which button died first? The middle one.

I am VERY glad that these are available again.

Comment: Re:That's why the Nintendo PlayStation died (Score 1) 60

by wierd_w (#48878183) Attached to: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Game Cartridge

I said "in theory". The devil's in the details.

still, I wonder how far one could get coopting both the EXT connector on the bottom, and the cartridge slot. Use the EXT connecter for IO (including video and SPU channel) and use the cartridge slot for the snes-side program code, ram access, and return communications. A hardware mpeg decoder in the cartridge slot, with the mpeg stream coming in on the ext port or something maybe. Given that the screen resolution isnt so big to begin with, a few hundred kbps would be sufficient. (600 or so, iirc.)

Why somebody would go through all the effort is another matter entirely-- the point was that in theory, one could do this on a cartridge, and never hope to do so over USB.

Comment: Re:And we are back to them again... (Score 3, Insightful) 60

by wierd_w (#48877003) Attached to: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Game Cartridge

Clearly, you do not understand the implications of what I said.

USB storage requires an entire operating system to even access. It requires a kernel OS process, a driver for the specific USB chipset attached to the system, and yet another driver for the filesystem stored on the device. In addition to this, it has to have multitasking capabilities to switch between reading and decoding the data on the device, and executing the read program code.

In stark contrast, a game cartridge requires no OS at all. The CPU simply jumps to the address location where the cartridge's ROM chip is logically assigned, and the CPU treats it exactly like it was fetching from RAM. The game is the ONLY thing running.

The better comparison would be "USB is the new data cassette!"

You can put all kinds of crazy things inside a cartridge that you simply could never put inside a USB stick. Things like additional RAM that runs at full speed, Whole new CPUs, an additional peripheral bus connector-- you name it.

In theory, a (crazy) person could take an old SNES console, and with a very purpose built cartridge, turn it into a playstation.

Really, the comparison you are drawing does not really reflect what a cartridge actually is.

Comment: Re:And we are back to them again... (Score 4, Informative) 60

by wierd_w (#48876225) Attached to: The Untold Story of the Invention of the Game Cartridge

Not exactly. A flashdrive is a serial bus peripheral that communicates using an encoded format.

A cartridge is typically little more than an exposed parallel logic bus that directly maps to the console's main memory. (Atari 2600 carts were literally a ROM chip, with its leads exposed on the card edge. Nothing else. )

NES and SNES carts had special purpose chips on them to help page the address of the ROM inside the main CPU's memory space, and even a few special co-processors on occasion, but were still just a direct tie-in to the memory bus.

A DIMM and a cartridge have more in common than a USB stick does with a cartridge.

Comment: Re:It's about time. (Score 1) 137

by wierd_w (#48875499) Attached to: Simon Pegg On Board To Co-Write Next Star Trek Film

The theme is there, but it isn't so "In your face", no. When you think about it, the futuristic technology required didn't exist yet in the TOS timeline. They had food slots, but not "Hey bro, I can make any fucking thing you can fit in my compartment!" omni-fabrication like they do in TNG with pattern replicators. This meant that there was still some value for physical possessions and the like. The "Full on" utopia happens in TNG.

However, the underpinnings of that future utopia are present in TOS-- In several episodes the race and gender of Uhura get pulled up, and the crew has to calmly explain how such distinctions are handled in their century.
(Yes-- that is abaham lincoln-- or rather, a facsimile of lincoln made by aliens)

There are of course, many others where this issue was brought up, and the "Utopian future" vibe was strong.

It was very much a part of TOS.

As for exploding consoles-- I think that was more a gimmick because the viewing audience would not understand "Broken console" without smoke and sparks. Even today, think of the difficulty IT people have explaining things like "Bad capacitors" to non-technical people. ("But it works just fine, then starts to act funny! Can't you fix it!?")-- That is still just a diversion from the original statement though. Star Trek was envisioned as a vehicle for an optimistic future. That vehicle used cheap gimmicks to accomplish that goal, but it still focused on that goal. The new reboot keeps the gimmicks, but sheds that goal.

Comment: Re:It's about time. (Score 5, Insightful) 137

by wierd_w (#48875119) Attached to: Simon Pegg On Board To Co-Write Next Star Trek Film

Because it sheds the ideological purpose that startrek was created for.

Startrek was by design, created to illustrate a damned-near utopian future where all races and genders work together as equals, and accomplish a society that all can be proud of.

In fact, Johnathan Frakes shares this little pearl of wisdom on the subject.

It is for this reason that I do not like the startrek reboot. It has shed its soul, to capitulate to the american audience's desire for boobies and explosions. It is not startrek.

Comment: Re:Time for the Ransomware (Score 2) 199

by wierd_w (#48847563) Attached to: Insurance Company Dongles Don't Offer Much Assurance Against Hacking

That's unfortunate... I can see why it would be desirable by the manufacturer and dealer, (as it would enable quite a few shady practices by both), but I question how stable EEPROM is compared to PROM in the hazardous environment under the hood or dash. (I know some modern systems are installed under the center console between the front seats, and some are installed under the passenger or driver seat, but this is still a problematical location in terms of operating environment. Still has large fluctuations in ambient temperature and issues with moisture and corrosion.)

I have seen ODBII dongles made specifically for hotrodding that contain new fuel mix tables and timing data for the ignition control system, but havent really seen kits to completely re-flash the ICS's computer.

Guess you learn something new every day.

Fundamentally, there may be no basis for anything.