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Comment Every single one of my Lenovo Laptops kicked ass (Score 3, Interesting) 99

All of them. They remain useful until they are completely broken, thrashed, just worn the fuck out dead.

That's why they are doing well. I pay a lot for mine, run them hard, and when they are behind the curve, they get cycled home for various things, until they finally just don't work, and that process is generally painless too.

I like the matte black finish. It's not sexy, but it endures way better than the shiny, "please don't scratch it" finishes on so many machines do. Maybe starting out a little less sexy has it's advantages. Black is damn cool in my book, and there is always that little brightly colored something on the machines, sort of like a great tie on an otherwise boring business suit. Perfect.

The keyboards are a bit noisy, but I like that too. Always have. I can type and type and type until the buttons are all worn, and they just keep going great, no worries.

Heavy little buggers, if you buy the more powerful ones. If I need to clock somebody with my laptop, Lenovo is there! No worries, and I can probably post to Facebook after doing it too.

Linux is well supported across most of the machines. I love that. A Think Pad was the first machine I ran OS X on too. Worked amazingly well, and was faster than the Mac I ended up getting soon after. Gotta admit, the touch pad on the Mac is better tho, but not by much. Some Think Pad touch pads need to be worn in. Once that has happened, they work much better. Weird.

By and large, I leave most of the value added software on the machines. It works well. HP is noisy, Dell just horrible, etc.... I get a competent disc burning kit, defrag tools, etc... Nice package that actually has some real value. On my latest machine they even tossed in the nVidia 3D licenses. Didn't know that, until I connected up to a new TV for some 3D CAD tests. Nice!! That's $14.99 for most of you out there.

Funny thing is I was not a fan early on. One ended up at the house, and I started using it. By the time I got it, the machine was a bit dated, but damn if it wasn't just great to use. When it outlasted some HP thing or other, I was sold. Typically, I get a top machine for work purposes. Need big RAM / CPU, nVidia, etc... Once it's done, it goes home for micro-controller related projects. Long life cycle on these. Worth it.

And... matte finish displays that are typically nice, bright, with fine dot pitches. They've wavered a bit on these on some models as of late. Gotta be a bit picky about that, but so has everybody else. Get the better display they offer, and it's no worry.

The few times I've ordered replacement things under warranty, they shipped 'em, the work wasn't hard. Once the machine ends up at home, I find I can service it much easier than I can the HP machines, which incorporate all manner of fiddly components, glue, buttons that fail, etc... Ugh. Dell sometimes does better, and is in my mind, competitive on this front. Apple? Difficult, but then their stuff works a long time too. Fair game they are playing, but HP is just losing big on this front. Get an HP, and you better hope it works, or service might be very difficult no matter who does it.

I expected some of this to fade when IBM let go to Lenovo. Very pleased to see they've kept the bar high so far. Hoping they continue.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Oh, look! An Atari Slashdot Logo With Scrolling Rainbows!

Well, not too much to say right now, other than I like the changing logo. It's a Google wannabe kind of thing, but in a good way. Nicely done.

If you own and value old computers, particularly if you use them, feel free to chatter below. I have an Apple //e, Atari 800XL, and Color Computer 3, up running and useful. (well sort of useful)

Comment 80's Kid here (Score 1) 632

Well, not too much officially.

The official curriculum consisted of some application specific learning. Standard stuff for the time, Visicalc, AppleWorks, etc... When the PC lab got built, it was the same deal there. Practical learning, skills based, focused on using the computer to do something specific.

It also included some real basics on computers. The parts of them, things about data, floppies, backups, etc... Not too much, other than care and feeding of the computer and some understanding of what makes it do what it does.

Our labs were Apple ][ series machines, one PC AT / XT lab, and a Mac or two hidden away for special things, LOL!


Anything and everything. One educator there was very fond of putting students into interest groups where he would then enable that learning, whatever it was. For me, and a few peers, this was golden! I've written this here a time or two, but can't find it at the moment, so I'll just summarize:

We got a few rules. State what we wanted to do, state why, sell that, then do it and move onto the next thing. In a few years, we got through programming in BASIC, LOGO, PASCAL, 6502 assembly. We also got to explore CP/M and compare / contrast to the Mainframe we could dial up running UNIX, and Prodos and our own home computers, whatever they were.

It ended up being a mini comp-sci course, where we worked from books, photocopied data sheets, and long hours on black boards working out binary math for various things. A few of us ended up teaching courses too for senior projects and such. Mine was LOGO programming, and it was a pretty successful course with most students able to write some spiffy programs.

While this was going on, those of us really interested were scoring info wherever we could. Magazines at the corner market, photocopies made from the University library, and documentation requests from various companies. Moto sent me out their 6809 / 68K programming reference just for the asking! Rockwell sent us data books too. Damn cool time.

For those that got after it, some seriously good learning happened. For the ordinary student, it was less than stellar, though they did at least get some seat time and basic literacy skills.

I went on to start into manufacturing, knowing enough to tackle things like paperless drawings and CAD and Internet in 91. Automation systems of various kinds, G-code, and filters / plotters to evaluate that stuff happened too. I often wrote in basic back then, just because it was good enough, but Turbo Pascal was the real tool. High School was enough to continue directly, which is what I and a few peers did, all having tech-oriented jobs today doing various things. Invaluable frankly.

Coupla notable things:

1. The math teacher was down on binary. "Who uses that esoteric number system?"

2. Took a class in mechanical drafting, then got exposed to some early CAD. I finished that class with an F, because it was much more useful to lay out D&D maps... The CAD ended up being a career as I could use CAD leaving High School, and did right away in a manufacturing context, later on engineering.

3. Some learning was different. Today, kids are often taught Microsoft Word. Back then we were taught what a word processor was, it's functions, etc... Then we got exposed to some word processors. Same with operating systems, and all manner of things. There is a perspective that comes with learning that way I find extremely valuable today. My own kids didn't get that from school, but did at home, of course.

Lots of things didn't happen yet. Internet was not really deployed on a wide scale, meaning one basically got online through University, or via some expensive service, or through a BBS gateway, etc... My experiences there were outside of school. The same is true for storage, networks, etc... All mostly missing, due to the time frame. No educating was done on this, but to explain the dial up to the University to tap the mainframe. (And the damn thing printed on big paper, such a waste... They could have attached a VT100 or something for a much better experience, something I didn't know until after leaving.)

Comment Re:Your laptop is more like a desktop than a table (Score 1) 329

I don't disagree.

There are a few layers to this discussion. One is the stationary computer. For me, that's gone for all but that old Apple.

The second is "The end of the PC" discussion, and I don't think we are anywhere close to that. Tablets and phones are growing very potent. Lots can be done on them, but they are not the general purpose computing devices "PC" devices are. Some of them can be, and I see people attempting to do that.

I myself am looking at a basic droid device for that purpose. I also use portable Linux distributions a lot, along with virtualization to decouple from hardware.

When it comes to authoring things, the PC is still king. For information consumption and some light manipulation, tablets and phones are rapidly filling that niche. There will be fewer PC's, but no end to them anytime soon.

Comment Sort of. (Score 1) 329

I've ditched the desktop. One laptop works for me. I don't even have external screens and such anymore. It was just easier to learn to use it well just as it comes. I will, on occasion plug in a mouse, or other specialized input device, and those are carried in my backpack.

Older laptops get purposed for specific things. Media server, or development machine for micro-controllers and such.

The only real PC that I have now is my Apple //e! (and I wish it were portable) And it's a nicely equipped //e, with a USB card for storage, serial, etc...

Comment Almost anyone can be a programmer. (Score 1) 767

Being a programmer, at the lowest level, is composing instructions. Lots of people do that, and they do so without too much trouble.

Now, being a good programmer requires being able to manipulate and keep track of simultaneous abstractions. That's a lot harder, and I do think there are plenty of people who just don't work well that way.

Comment Yeah, you can and should grow up. (Score 1) 299

There is a process on these things. It's not a perfect process. All of us have to deal in some ways so that we may see the greater gains by doing so.

You said this:

Thanks for the lecture, Dad. Now, can I live like a grown up and make my own mistakes? Or do I still need your permission and still need to pay tithes to your institution for the privilege of your guidance and leadership?

LOL!! Bet you are somewhere in your 20's, right where I was when I said similar things. It's a tough gig, but time cures a lot of things. Trust me on that. Yeah, Dad now. Was just starting that gig when I signed up to this site, and the last kid is about to leave the house. Long time.

Here's the hard truth. You won't like it either, but it's fact, absolute. You are accountable to those you need stuff from. That's reality. Now, you say you want to live it on your own totally as an individual? Great! Give it all up. That means you don't get citizenship, that means you don't get infrastructure, that means you don't get courts, police, fire, or any of the other things you found up and running here like everybody else did.

Go off and do it all yourself, ideally somewhere that the rest of the world will just let you have, and then you can do fuck all you want, if you live long enough to actually do it.

Not a pleasant idea is it?

You see, you want shit, but you don't value what you see around you. Somehow, you think that's just a freebie and that you've got some entitlement to declare yourself above it all, that rugged individualist who doesn't need anybody or anything, just keep your hands off my money, blah, blah, blah.

Everything costs something pal. Everything. And the cost of living here is dealing with the process that is up and running here. Don't like how some of the taxes get spent? Great. I suggest you invest some of your time in politics and advocacy and get it changed, just like anyone else can and should be doing. That's how we resolve that stuff.

We don't resolve it by devaluing the society we live in, and declaring taxes as theft is like shitting where you eat. Fucking stupid.

You are lazy as hell, expecting some simplistic market solution to very complex, very old, very human problems. Been reading "those books?" Bet you have, and the attraction there is it's simple. Vote with your feet right? And if we just dismantle it all, the magic market forces will sort the people out.

Doesn't work that way either, and it doesn't work that way because the real money will crush you and me like we don't even exist. The real money, left unchecked would enslave people, kill off the gays, promote smoking tobacco to avoid paying for old people as optimal profit is when the worker dies right after their productive years, etc...

Go and read your history. That's how it has always gone down, and given no checks and balances, that is how it will continue to go down.

So here's the deal on "supporting" stuff. It's a package. You can either leave, or not. If you stay, then you deal. That's it. Assuming you are here, then we have the politics to help shape how things go, and we have the dollars to fund what gets done. Given you leverage all of that stuff no matter what you do, those taxes are no different than cutting me in for my share of a joint project. I don't like war either. But, I do appreciate the New Deal, and many other good thing we do, so I pay my taxes, and I do my politics and advocacy to speak my mind about it, ideally resonating with many others in ways that impacts how things get done and that changes things for the better, or worse...

The worse part?

When you tune out, buy into the idea that the system is fucked, and that somehow you would be better off just on your own with "your money", fuck everybody else style. Nobody gets to do that. Thinking you somehow deserve to be able to do that, or can do that is idealistic and naive frankly.

Again, take it or leave it. You are accountable to those you need stuff from. That's reality and the sooner you get that, the better off you will be.

And the other reality here is that you need stuff! That posh life you've got isn't a freebie, and it's posh too, assuming you aren't posting up from one of the really fucked nations. Want to call your own shots? There's a good idea. Move to Somalia where they pretty much let it go there, and arm up while you are there, and remember to cut your "friends" in for their slice of the pie for covering your ass too. Funny how that stuff works isn't it?

So assuming that, yeah. Posh. You got a lot handed to you, and it costs money. Real money to build, real money to maintain, and real time to keep it from being over exploited, and that means doing your civics, not tuning out dreaming of fantasy lands where you can just magically have it all and do what you want to do.

Come back and read this in 10 years or so. Have your family, grow a little, experience things, and maybe you might come to understand just a little bit of the naivete' and selfish nature you've got and how much harm it can do.

Paying your taxes isn't supporting the bad stuff. Failure to actually do your civics, cast your votes, advocate your values and demonstrating them in your own life is supporting the bad stuff.

Think we are treating gays like shit? I think so. Fuck that. Know what I do? I stand up for them, taking heat when it matters, and not voting in asses that would continue the abuse.

Think we should legalize it? I do. I think all the incarceration is a massive abuse, and in many states, interestingly those states where I hear a ton of people like you denying the process mind you, is a crime against the people, and it's being over-exploited as cheap, slave labor too. Fuck that.

The difference between us? I know we need government, I know here in the US WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT, and our first amendment means we get to talk about that shit, find common ground, and vote out asses, voting in people who will do the right things.

Know what happens when you don't get that? You get exploited, that's what. Want to know why?

Speak or be spoken for, that's why. So rather than rant your ass about how "your money" is going to some thing or other you find undesirable or unjust, when the reality is your greed is showing more than your morality is, grow the fuck up, get involved, and start taking the shit back proper.

That's what I learned coming out of my 20's, and into 40's now. Ignore the politics, and you live under the rule of those that didn't, and it's all precisely that simple.

Comment Stealing... Looking awful selfish from here. (Score 2) 299

What you say?

Yeah, selfish.

How exactly did you make "your" money? I assume you've accounted for the value of the nation you live in, right? The infrastructure, education, currency, military protection, local protection, license to do business, etc...

Are those things worth nothing?

Have you considered what making "your" money would actually look like, if people were dumb enough to really buy into the idea that taxing is stealing?

Think margins are thin now, just wait until you need to fund your own protection, figure out currency issues and value exchange, or need to settle differences with weapons instead of courts, or fight of plunderers, thieves, and copy cats.

You have a birthright, and it was established through the collective labor and taxes to add value to our lives over time. Nothing you do, and I mean absolutely nothing is done in isolation.

Yeah, that means you didn't build it yourself and nobody else did either. That also means you've got to pay your share just like everybody else does, because it's a package deal. Nobody gets to just not participate, because it doesn't work that way. It can't work that way.

Early on, the idea of self-governance was justified for these reasons. We need taxes, we need infrastructure, we need government and we need it because eeking it out as hunter gatherers just doesn't get us anywhere, and the quality of life sucks complete ass too.

We are free people in the US. We agree to fund government and submit to it, while preserving our right to challenge it, become part of it, work with it, and deal with it so that we are better able to enjoy our freedom.

A hunter gatherer is very free, but also very poor. That hunter gatherer, operating in isolation, "building it themselves" will invest most of their time getting established, and working to survive, ideally having a small family, not getting killed off by some other person wanting a quick leg up, with the idea of having a little bit of time to simply do what they want to do as opposed to what they need to do.

Wealth is measured in time. When most of our time is "must do" time, we are poor. When most of our time is "want to do" time, we are wealthy.

You are wealthy due to the labor invested in making sure you are born wealthy enough to even contemplate bitching about having to contribute your share needed to keep it all rolling.

Now, if we are to do a proper accounting of "your money" as opposed to the cut you owe the others who busted their ass to hand you a posh birthright, things start to get a little ugly.

Truth is, your taxes are a steal, even with the abuses. Could be better, but you are still getting one hell of a deal.

"your money" equals what you get paid for your labor products, most of which are not even possible to do or profit from without that birthright you ignore and refuse to value properly. Your slice of the education, military, research, police, infrastructure, courts, etc... is directly related to the value you get for all those things. They aren't free. They don't exist in a vacuum, and there isn't some picking and choosing which ones you like and which ones you don't, because the whole thing breaks down without everybody paying in their fair share to get their fair value out, which makes the whole thing work for you like it does.

So that means yeah, you are going to pay for some things you think are shit, and you are going to deal, because the alternative is sucking ass somewhere, living to work, working to live, hoping to god you don't get hurt, or killed before you even turn 30.

What a selfish ass you are. Fuck.

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