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Comment Re:But can it run Windows? (Score 1) 111

Yes and no.

I cant see if the CPU in this thing supports THUMB, NEON, and real floating point or not-- If it does, then it could conceivably run Exagear dekstop on it.


It's assembly optimized for arm CPUs with those features, and is fast enough to run x86 emulation at useful speeds. (they claim more than 10x faster than QEMU.) It can be used to run WINE on an ARM platform, meaning that if CHIP supports those CPU features, then CHIP could possibly run commodity desktop software.

Comment Re:TOTAL GARBAGE- paid mods work on Steam (Score 1) 41

I disagree, for a very simple, but very fundamental reason.

Most people wanting to sell their mods, want to get jobs in game development-- Either as asset creators, scripters, coders, level designers, etc.

They use the mod community as the springboard. The easy-access publishing stream through which they are able to shine, and show off their talents to potential employers, who are looking for such premium talent.

When you introduce the paid mods element, the community stops being easy access. People who are supremely talented, but not financially empowered, are unable to showcase that talent effectively.

Additionally, it turns the community into competition to the game designers and publishers, unless draconian IP payouts happen. (like the 75% payout to bethesda that valve had in mind.)

In terms of being able to allow a starry eyed, but highly talented person to get exposure, and thus stand out, and eventually become a professional (by being gainfully employed doing that kind of work), paid mods murder the baby in the cradle.

Comment Here's what I see wrong with the idea of paid mods (Score 1) 41

Most mods out there leverage properties produced by other modders. This is because talent takes all kinds of forms. A person who makes gorgeous models may be shit at level design, or may be shit at story telling, or shit at voice acting, or shit at [Insert FOO].

The mod community gets around these individual failings by allowing "Good Story Guy" to leverage "Good script guy" and "Good model guy" and "Good level design guy" to create a mod that tells his epic story, and does so with quality components.

The same is likewise true for good model guy-- who can show off his awesome models with a mod that is worth playing, because it has good story guy's story-- etc...

What happens, fundamentally, when people start planting the :"I WANNA BE PAID!!" flag?

Several things. The obvious one, to me, is this:

In order to successfully monetize a property, then that property must be licensed, and actively policed and controlled. That means that if Good Model Guy says "Hold up, My models are so clearly awesome, that you have to pay me $BAR percentage of your gross if you sell your mod, and it features my models." Suddenly, Good Story Guy can no longer get his epic story out in a presentable container. His talent dies on the vine, because once he has done the math, and computed all the nickles and dimes he has to pay everyone to satisfy all their egos (which is really what this is about.) he either has nothing left, or worse, is actually in the hole, financially. This is simply due to all the overhead costs needed to properly attempt to license the properties, the costs of utilizing an IP lawyer to assure legitimacy of the licenses, etc. The ability of Good Story Guy to shine vaporize.

The same is true for Good Model Guy, who now has to license the level design skills of Good Level Design Guy, and the story of Good Story Guy, etc.

To me, wishing to be able to monetize your hobby/labor of love is like wishing that you had a magical castle. Boy, it sure would be nice to have, but when you look into it, you find that it just isn't really possible, and still have the community. You take what was once something with practically no barrier to entry other than your own talent that you can bring to the table, and overnight, you end up with a byzantine network of licenses so complex that you WILL need a lawyer to keep it all straight.

So, let me ask you-- Can you afford the services of a lawyer? All the time?

That's what going outside the "handouts" model *WILL* necessitate.

Either to help you draft your license to that it is sane and useful by other people (so you dont shoot yourself in the food), and just to make sure that any project that you arent the 100% rights holder to has properly licensed all of the properties that it leverages.

Paid mods outside of the donations-based model are simply, and fundamentally incompatible with the foundational bedrock of the mod community: The ability to leverage one's own talents with the combined talent pool of all other modders, to make something new and awesome, and do so without excessive barrier to entry.

At "best", "License based" mods would splinter the community into closely knit consortia, where you have "elite" (with HUGE barrier to entry) individuals that routinely license each other's properties at reduced, or even free rates, to produce community mods that they then share the proceeds from, based on some internal agreements. Such pools will stagnate, since no new blood can easily enter (because they cant showcase their own talent easily, due to the barrier to entry caused by the licensing model itself) and so such communities are doomed to slow death from entropy. (People change careers, get married and or have kids, anything that takes them away from their group, without ready replacements to take over.)

So, as harsh as it sounds, I equate "I WANNA BE PAID!" with "I WANT A MAGIC CASTLE!"

Comment Small HTPC out of WD external HDD enclosure (Score 1) 210

Today, there is no shortage of SBCs out there, and intel has released some pretty powerful x86 based ones, like the minnowboard max 2.

On the market at this very moment, Western Digital is offering an external hard drive that has an interesting enclosure. (See Western Digital MyBook 3TB and 4TB models) This is basically just a little triangle shaped USB to SATA adapter attached to a standard 3.5 inch SATA HDD, which is itself mounted on 4 little rubberized pegs, held into the enclosure via some little receptacles for the rubberized pegs.

Now, the hardware hack.

I bought one of these late one night (way after midnight after all more reputable sources of computer parts had closed) just to get the HDD inside, as I needed a replacement RIGHT NOW. (Got the 4TB version. 3Tb drives have terrible failure rates. It was a 4TB WD Green series SATA drive. Not splendid, but it serviced.)

That left me with the shell. For awhile I left it to sit around and ignored it, but the more I looked at it, the more it just screamed to have something done with it.

The drive kit came with a 12vdc wall wart that can put out about 30W of juice. The enclosure has cutouts for the 12v barrel connector, the "USB3.0 HDD style" connector, and a lockstrap hole.

Minor modifications with a dremel tool made the USB slot into a standard USB sized opening, and the lockstrap hole large enough to accomodate a mini HDMI port.

Inside, I took a 2.5in to 3.5in bay adapter, put the rubberized pegs on, then marked mounting points for a minnowboard max 2 with a sharpie marker, drilled them out, then attached standoffs using a combination of small back-facing nuts and washers. In the 2.5in bay, I installed a 2.5 inch SATA HDD.

The minnowboard is unique among SBCs, because it has a real SATA interface on it. It is a dual core intel atom system with intel integrated video. Whoopy freaking do, except for the fact that it's total TDP is around 6 watts. That's low enough to run without a fan, and well within the 30W the DC supply that came with the drive can deliver. The problem is that it needs 5vdc, not 12vdc. Easily fixed with a DC-DC power converter.

Long story short, I found that there was enough room inside the enclosure for the HDD, the minnowboard, extender cables going to the port openings from the minnoboard, an interal USB2.0 hub for things like WiFi and Bluetooth, the DC-DC power converter, and all that jazz.

It makes a very snazzy looking HTPC box.

Comment Re:Microsoft does that.. (Score 2) 517

Hey AC, dont worry too much.

You can boot UEFI bios systems into legacy OSes pretty easily with a second stage loader scheme.

Such as GRUB2.

It works in the reverse too-- allowing UEFI expecting OSes to boot on BIOS systems. Since upgrading to a 4tb drive, I had to switch to GPT instead of MBR. I use GRUB2 on the "fake" MBR of the GPT table as the primary loader to satisfy my legacy BIOS's need for a primary boot sector and MBR partition table, and since GRUB2 is GPT aware, it can read the GPT partition table and then chainload the proper bootloader.

Works like a charm.

The real challenge would be getting UEFI expecting OSes that make use of UEFI features after bootup to run on legacy BIOS systems. For that, you need software implementations of UEFI, and those are a pain in the ass.

Comment Re:How exactly does Windows "slow down"? (Score 3, Informative) 517

One way that windows 7 (in particular) slows down, comes from the use of the winSXS folder.

Basically, because the windows software ecosystem is so... Plagued.. with legacy software that expect older versions of system libraries, Microsoft invented a solution to detect those dependencies and satisfy them with those older libaries in a sandbox-- the WinSXS folder.

As time passes, and updates happen, system libraries get updated-- instead of being replaced, they get moved to the winsxs folder and archived. This is so when your bitchy internal-only legacy application that is oh-so-mission-critical that it simply cant be rewritten for a modern OS gets run, it can continue to run.

The downside is that as this treasure trove of old libraries grows, the penalty of the checking routine becomes more and more apparent. (also, it consumes more and more disk space.)

Other forms of slowdown are not specific to windows 7 and newer however.

The registry is a binary file that must be parsed to find entries inside it, and it too can become fragmented. As changes are CONSTANTLY happening to the registry, the (actual) structure of the registry can become more and more byzantine. Since such changes are completely unavoidable with daily use, the slow degradation of this system is also unavoidable unless you boot from a golden image each and every time. This has been a problem since at least the 9x days. Back then, you could automate registry defragmentation with a bootup script because of the complete lack of filesystem security on FAT-- (Tell regedit to dump the registry in its totality into an exported text file, then tell it to rebuild the registry from scratch using that text file dump, then cleanup the temporary files afterwards.) You cant do that with modern flavors of windows because 1) you cant invoke scripts that easily on bootup anymore 2) the registry files are protected with NTFS security descriptors, 3) the OS locks the registry basically as soon as NTLDR finishes, so you cant replace the registry files while live.

There are of course, the other causes of slowdown that come from cumulative misconfigurations that happen from automated updates, but meh.

Comment Re:Not for me (Score 1) 517

Even with disk cleanup removing redundancies in the winSXS folder, it can still swell to be over 12gb in size.

A better solution is to turn NTFS compression on for the folder, then defragment the living shit out of it. (NTFS compression causes epic fragmentation.)

You dont want compression turned on as a rule, but when windows is basically warehousing data against an uncertain future, you might as well treat it like a "rarely used, if ever" archival store. The space is more valuable than the access speed in this case.

Just be wary! the compression cycle is very harmful to SSDs, but once compressed, the files dont change, so its fine afterward. Better to do with a disk image on a spinny disk, then port the whole image to the SSD.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 4, Insightful) 517

Part of the issue is also that newer versions of windows want to move away from just being an OS, and toward being an entertainment venue all of its own.

That's MS marketing and the UI graphic designers faults though.

Fun little thing to do:

Take a weak kneed intel Atom board, and do some simple office use tests with it with various older versions of windows. Start with NT4, then use Win2k, the XP, then 7, then 8.1. See how the ability to do simple things degrades as the OS expects more and more hardware just to draw the damned UI.

Now, realize that the biggest selling point for new windows versions is NOT a new shiny UI-- but continued security updates. Now you will understand why corporations get bitchy. They have something that works, on the hardware they already have-- but are going to be forced to buy a whole new iteration of hardware, to get updated software that gets updates against security threats-- because otherwise MS does not get money.

If it werent for the lack of security updates, win2k would be ideal for nearly all corporate drone installations.

(Note, there are other useful features that were added with each version of windows, and I am not discounting that. What I am saying is that even with those kernel space and user space feature enhancements, they could have been rolled into service packs for the older products, and you would have had more responsive product overall. The need to reinvent the OS constantly drives the need to constantly make it look different, (to set it apart from its predecessor), which constantly increases the HW requirements. It is pathological.)

Comment Re:Technically right (Score 3, Insightful) 245

That's probably because somewhere in the google complex, there are some crusty old bureaucrats that just cant let go of the notion that "Proprietary == Profit!", and that "Control" takes many forms other than just "Stop all competition at all costs!"

Things like, "Look, we design and maintain the freaking OS. Here's how the location service API works, and how to make calls. Our location service package in Google Apps is purpose tailored for the Android platform, and we provide support for it-- however, if you want to have your device provide location services using a different library, it needs to conform to this API, and you are on your own if it breaks. We wish you luck, but if it breaks, dont come crying to us over it. Likewise, if you are linking against our location service software in your app using some method OTHER than the published API (Such as hooking some of our secret sauce inside that isn't normally exposed, hijacking some unanticipated feature of our location service daemon, or using some magic ID string for some other purpose that will then break if some 3rd party location service daemon is installed-) you are not developing for the android platform correctly, and if we catch you doing it, we will boot you from the playstore for not following best practices."

You still have market dominance. You still have control over the playstore. You still have control over quality of software on offically supported devices (so you dont look bad) ,AND you get to have a powerful shield against regulatory oppression.

BUT-- Somewhere in corporate la-la land, there is that cadre of old fucks who see an open platform and shit themselves because they dont have a strangle-hold death-grip on every little thing involved.

Comment Re:Please Let Me Play Devils Advocate (Score 3, Insightful) 407

Which is PRECISELY why the corporations MUST be controlled via strong force of law, NOT relaxed pampering and pandering.

Since a corporations fiduciary obligation is the center of the corporation's universe, and all other considerations take second or even third stage (if at all!), then some other agency MUST step in to intercede to protect the system from the otherwise inevitable collapse. THAT IS THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT.

The problem is that government panders to the corporations and gives them whatever they want, (and what they want is less legal restrictions on their ability to meet their fiduciary obligations, at the expense of all other concerns and practices) instead of busting their chops and holding their asses to the fire so they have to fly right.

Going "But think of the poor corporations, just doing what they are forced to do by their evil share holders!" is bullshit. Instead, you should be demanding that government do its fucking job, instead of whoring itself out for career re-election dollars.

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann