Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:I've been impressed with IE lately (Score 1) 122

I've tried using MS-only products for about a year before surrendering and switching back to Google.
Bing,, Windows 8.1/Windows Phone 8, Office 2013, all that sorts of stuff. Did not work out, and the biggest complaints about IE are:
1) Website compatibility. For some reason IE 11 chooses legacy mode for many modern sites like etc. which disables features and breaks stuff. Additionally, MS tried to force developers to stop using IE versions when determining supported features, which broke browser detection on many sites, including Google, banking sites etc. Basically they told "sorry, we don't understand your browser type" and gave an HTML-only interface or even no access at all. This may be a webmaster problem, but MS should have at least provided an option to enable user-agent spoofing by default. Now you have to press F12 every time you open the same website because IE cannot remember previous compatibility settings. The only option is to force "compatibility mode" for sites which is IE6 quirks emulation - totally stupid.
2) Addons - IE does not support lightweight addons like Chrome or Firefox. Addons are DLLs which require browser restarts, can cause crashes and generally are developed by unknown companies. Chrome and Firefox provide tons of simple extensions like scrobbling plugins, stopping of Youtube autoplay etc. which are unavailable for IE. And most plugins are in the form of Javascript which means they could be audited.
Plugin development for IE is much more difficult than other browsers, period. This means many small, simple (but niche) addons will never be done because you have to learn a lot in order to create even a simplest plugin.
Also, IE's search feature is terrible compared to Firefox/Chrome/Opera. No keywords for search engines, no option for adding search engines besides (does not have search plugins for all websites).
3) Privacy - for some reason Chrome is considered to be worse than IE. However unlike Chrome or Firefox IE has non-existing cookie management. In Chrome or Firefox I can only enable cookies for a pre-approved site list, while IE's only option is to clear all cookies.
4) Features - for many features IE hasn't changed much since IE4. Bookmarks are still stored as *.url files (no duplicates, no sorting, no support for characters like *,/,:). No spellcheck. Bookmark sync only works with Windows 8.
5) Stability - even though IE11 is faster and more stable than IE7/8, it still locks up more frequently than Chrome (but uses less RAM).
6) Updates - IE is terribly slow to update (once every 2-3 years???). And still updates require a system restart!

The only noticeable improvement between IE11 and IE7 is with speed, rendering and standards support. This may be good enough to make IE bearable on public or company-owned computers, but is not sufficient to switch Firefox/Chrome users back to IE.

Comment Re:A Big Compliment! (Score 1) 82

Well, I did in fact visit Shanghai and stayed in a (probably) expensive hotel. While worked OK, other services like Youtube and Twitter were still blocked
And the same situation was in the office I was visiting - US company, but almost no visitors (even the receptionist didn't speak English).

Comment Re:A Big Compliment! (Score 1) 82

Google was not blocked in China, but rather not allowed to do business there. Last time I've been to China, Google still worked, but instead of it opened They have pretty extensive Google Maps for China, with local services like traffic, as well as other services.
The only thing which doesn't work is Youtube.

Comment Re:Are they going to fix the bugs? (Score 2) 126

The encryption password becomes your lock screen PIN and there is no way to change it.

Wrong, the encryption password has to be entered when booting the phone only. It's even different screen (ugly Android 1.6-style buttons painted black).
I have a device with corporate policies enforced and have 3 codes to enter:
- Encryption password
- Lock PIN.
When device becomes locked after inactivity, I only need to use the lock PIN.

Comment Re:BTW, this proves piracy is irrelevant for artis (Score 1) 610

Well, this actually makes sense. Magnetic media degrades over time, CDs suffer from bit rot, vynil records are easily dameged, HDDs fail, id3 tags are corrupted (Windows Media Player does that). Formats change over time - for example movies purchased 10 years ago are in DVD quality, which doesn't look good in big TVs; and high-quality 1080p torrents consume less space.
And just at old iTunes purchases - they are poorer quality and have DRM.
Now, renting music is not much worse than maintaining a record collection, and for the price of one album per month you get unlimited access to all songs. Sounds like a great bargain to me if you download at least one new album per month. And in 5-10 years your library will probably get upgraded to FLAC quality.
If you are "lucky" to work in an open space environment, you need A LOT of music to compensate the noise. Listening to the same music over and over is even worse than listening to loud sales calls, and radio-style services or unlimited libraries really help to keep your sanity.
The only downside I see is the possibility of provider going bankrupt or shutting down the music service.

Comment Re:My opinion on the matter. (Score 1) 826

X is terrible when working over non-local networks (VPN, offsite servers and so on). Once you get any sort of network latency, windows start drawing incredibly slowly, it seems every X drawing call is done synchronously and windows with many buttons and text labels may take tens of seconds to draw.
It's so bad that our team has to use VNC server on every site and use it for any X applications. Even though VNC is supposed to be less efficient, it doesn't suffer as much from network latency.

Comment Re:Linux will NEVER be a Desktop - Every Day OS. (Score 1) 727

Windows is seeming to be actually going backwards.
For example, if you disable hibernation in Windows 7, you can only re-enable it with a command line tool rather than a GUI like it was done in XP.

Or even worse: Windows Vista/7 had network management features that recognized networks and allowed to enable features based on the assigned network type. This is a neat feature which automatically enforces stricter firewall rules in public hotspots. Windows 8 had this feature really dumbed down, and what's more, you can now only manage locations with a command line tool! If you shared some files at a local Starbucks, locking it down would be extremely difficult.

With this rate, some future Windows version would only allow DHCP auto-configuration, or if you need to set your own IP/DNS, you're a power user and should use the console.

Comment Re:American car companies... (Score 3, Funny) 426

Audi, BMW, Porche, Volkswagen, Honda, Ford, Mazda, Mitssubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota weren't sitting on their thumbs in the 15 years it took GM, Ford, and Chevrolet to get their cars up to snuff.

I agree, every time someone tries to sell me a Ford, I always tell them it's horrible and I'd prefer Ford instead.

Comment Re:How to fix ALL the app stores... (Score 3, Informative) 249

Step 2 no longer allow any app that replicates abilities in the stock phone.

Not such a god idea. If Android has a browser, a "social networking" app (Google+), a music player, an SMS app, a maps app and so on, alternatives may still be useful (e.g. an alternative SMS app with spam blocking, an alternative maps source).
Or iPhone, which has Safari, forces all browsers to use the Safari rendering engine. Not so great if someone develops a better browser with ad blocking, a faster (or more standards-compatible) rendering engine, or some other features besides another UI with bookmarks sync.

Step 4 eliminate in app purchases.

Some in-app purchases are good. For example add-supported apps that allow to disable ads for a fee will keep settings, while the traditional solution with a free/paid version clutters the appstore and loses your settings if you upgrade, since it's a completely different and isolated app.

Comment Re:Remove old apps. (Score 2) 249

There are some niche apps which were updated a long time ago and yet continue working well. For example an SSH client (this is Android, but still). There are some clones of this app, adding some extra (perhaps unneeded) features, and either display ads or require payment while the original app is completely free and open-source. If it works well even on the latest hardware, should it really be removed if it's no longer updated and does not generate as much cash as the clones?

Comment Re:anyone remember itanium? (Score 1) 257

Itanium was popular with the server market, it just didn't evolve fast enough. Windows XP actually had an Itanium version from day 1 and a lot of MS products had Itanium releases.
Totally new hardware platforms sometimes allows to get rid of old stuff and rethink approaches. For example, Apple's iPhone/iPad basically set the new standard of what a smartphone or tablet should be - before that we had Windows Mobile, Palm and Symbian without an app store and with capacitive screens and bulky tablets running desktop operating systems.
This probably won't be a consumer OS, rather something like a dedicated database machine or Hadoop-like node.

Comment Stories do matter (Score 1) 169

A few examples of good stories:
* Half-Life does not have a really complicated story, but it's good enough to turn mindless running around corridors (Quake II-style) into achieving actual goals.
* Bioshock Infinite has an insanely great story with an awesome ending. Forget the graphics (not bad at all), forget the gameplay (also quite entertaining), the story is probably the best in history of gaming. This game will definitely be remembered.
And bad ones:
* Unreal II: The Awakening has a terrible story and dialogue. But graphics were great and gameplay was OK (typical for FPS developed during that time). Probably nobody remembers this game now (except for how bad the dialogue was).
* Unreal Tournament, Quake III have absolutely no story in single-player. It seems nobody played single-player at all, or only used it to train for multi-player deathmatches.

Some gameplay types do not need a story, and sadly it seems that this includes most modern games, such as free-to-play timekillers (no need for a story when the purpose is grinding for coins) and multiplayer games where the any sort of story interferes with the gameplay.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Mr. Watson, come here, I want you." -- Alexander Graham Bell