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Comment Of course they'd say that to avoid global panic (Score 5, Informative) 286

There's 2 options here:

1. Everything is fine, no gobal apocalypse

2. There's something on the way that's going to kill us all, but if we tell you about it the whole world will panic and riots will stop the government getting itself to safety along with a handpicked few 'key' people

Either way - they'll say it's safe

And on that note, I'm going to hang up my tin foil hat

Comment Nail velcro strips to the back of your desk (Score 2) 242

Disclaimer - I run installations in a datacentre so I do this for a living.

Nail velcro to the back of your desk, instant cable guides and tidy. Velcro excess in to loops. Use a lot of velcro. Plan and execute a labelling scheme - either paper that you sellotape over the top of, or a proper brady label for every cable. Use dymo labels for every plug and AC-adapter so you know what each of them hooks up to.

Yes it's a pain. Plan on taking half a day to do it properly. Document it as you go if you can. Remember all you need is to do it properly once.

If it's stuff that you plan on taking with you for travel / work - get a second adapter / set of cables. Keep those in the bag so you only need to move the device. The cost of your time messing around trying to untangle behind your desk is worth a spare usb lead or several.

Comment Re:System under glass (Score 1) 372

Single mode will be the total guarantee for bandwidth, but the cost of the optics will always be a lot more expensive than multimode. 50 micron OM3 would probably be sufficient for anything you'll ever need, but even then you have to remember that this is a household environment and unless you can guarantee that you'll keep the dust caps on whenever it's not in use the cable will fail.

Fibre has it's place in the datacentre where you can keep a relatively clean environment to handle it, for household bandwidth just run cat6a and co-ax. Who cares if it takes 5 minutes instead of 30 seconds to copy a file from your media server when it takes you 2 hours to actually watch it.

Comment MediaPC vs Desktop (Score 1) 405

SSDs are now at a price where it's a no-brainer for a media-PC hooked up to a NAS. They're pretty much cheaper than the cheapest normal hard drive you can buy, and far quieter.

For the desktop, the cache drives still make the best sense. Most users don't have the technical ability to be able to force installs of software to secondary drives and keep their boot drive clear of clutter enough to be able to warrant the cost of an SSD.

I went for a cache drive myself about 4 months ago and it's been one of the best purchases I've made for my home system, but for joe public I'd still say a RAM upgrade should come way before anything else if they want things to just work faster.

Comment US Patents lead to technological backwater (Score 2) 553

I've been following this on Groklaw for a while, and it's obvious yet again how badly the US patent system is broken when Apple can patent a rectangle with rounded corners and succeed in banning devices of the same shape, and yet refuse to licence the basic technology that is needed for the phone to actually behave like a phone and make calls.

In real terms if this judgement stands then the US will end up with technology that lags the rest of the world by whole generations as why should companies like Samsung, HTC, etc etc actually bother releasing their products in the US when Apple will use the courts to ban them?

It's amazing how many of the self proclaimed 'freedoms' and 'ethics' have been quietly swept under the carpet in the name of capitalism and the next quarters profit margin.

Comment It was always about games and the 'killer apps' (Score 2) 505

Why did people stick with windows - it wasn't because the tech was better, OS/2 was better tech than windows for years, and then by the time OS/2 was dead we had a linux kernal good enough to be counted as better.

So why did I stick with windows - 2 reasons - Office and Games.

Office was the killer app for owning the desktop - if you can lock your corporate customer in to windows via a good enough set of office tools then you start to own the mindshare - you use a windows machine at work, if you want / need to work at home they buy a windows machine there with the same tools (remember we're talking back in the days of windows 3.11 and '95 - when laptops were pretty much outside the reach of joe public but a desktop was something that was possible if you were perpared to save for it).

As soon as you have a critical mass of PCs running dos / windows in the hands of the public then they are going to want to game on it - and for years the PC was where the games were at - and you can name the killer games - Doom, Quake, Unreal, etc etc. All of them either predated the consoles, or were a quantum leap ahead of what the console could deliver in the way of graphics or the ability to play against real opponents on a network or eventually across the internet. The current generation of consoles are the first to successfully compete and beat the PC in this space, before the PS/3 or Xbox360 if you wanted to play against a real opponent that wasn't sat on the same couch as you then the PC was your only option.

Gaming was always the driver, every upgrade I've paid out my own money for has been because of a game I wanted to play - be it the next GFx card, or having to go to a new version of windows because the new version of DIrectX made things look better and wasn't available on the last version.

Apple did the smart thing - they tied themselves to a niche market with the media creators (photoshop / video editing etc) and so influenced the people writing your TV shows and style magazines - which has paid off for them in the long run by association - the common man sees Apple still as something hip and trendy, and as an aspirational piece of hardware. If I buy an Apple product I'll be as trendy as all the beautiful people in the media.

Either way both companies invested in the user experience - they ended up with products that 'just worked' and were 'good enough'. You didn't feel you had to have a degree to use their products - they were for everyone.

And then you have linux - and I tried linux several times over the years wanting it to succeed on the desktop,and it never did because it was too hard to get it to actually work in the first place, and when you did get it to work it was either missing the business applications to allow it to talk to everyone else in the office, and it was missing the games that made you want to use it at home.

But what frustrates me most is that we still have people talking about when linux will conquer the desktop. The desktop is dead. Wake up and smell the roses. The computer everyone reaches for these days is their phone. It games, it does social media, it surfs the internet, it's always with you and guess what - it's running linux.

Comment Why not just use your phone? (Score 1) 415

I've been an ebook reader for 10+ years now - ever since I needed to do a lot of travel for work and figured out it was a lot easier to carry a PDA with a few hundred books on it instead of a suitcase with half a dead tree inside. I went through 3 PDAs before I upgraded to my latest phone. If your screensize is 4" or larger then it makes a perfectly adequate ebook reader with the advantage that it's always with you.

I use FBReader on the Desire HD - mainly because it allows the use of the volume rocker for page-up / page-down. I have full control of font sizes and it supports open (epub) formats. Anything else there's an app for if needed. It's perfectly good for novels and works for me.

If I need to look at a technical manual then the chances are I'm on my main computer anyway (or not too far away from it).

Seriously - use your phone to start with. OK it may not be ideal in bright sunlight, but it works for me. Give the BAEN website a try - they have a load of SF / Fantasy novels made available for free by the authors in open formats and it's got me in to some great stuff and I've ended up buying the next books in the series as a result of reading the first from there.

Comment Re:Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers (Score 1) 91

Agreed, it's one of the jewels of my book collection and stands just as well on it's own merits as it does as a parody.

If I remember correctly the stainless steel rat was also serialised in the 2000AD comics and then subsequently published as a collection. Could be worth tracking this down or pushing for a reprint to help introduce a new generation to some classic,influential and seminal works.

Comment XTree Gold (Score 2) 654

Back in the days when I bought my first PC (386dx40) I used to spend more of my time in XTree Gold than in Windows 3.11 - not sure if it counts as a proper GUI or not, but it did everything quickly and with a minimal footprint.

In a way many of the current GUIs feel like a step backwards, as I'm sure I used to be quicker doing what I needed to do with the minimal interface than I do with the extra steps needed for todays 'richer' environments.

Comment Controllers and potential patent problems (Score 1) 218

We've all seen patents being thrown around too much recently and stifling companies. I've got a suspicion that most controller technology and design is now covered by patents. They're going to have to be very careful to avoid getting caught by any of these.

Looking at this I'd love for it to succeed, but as a geek in their target market I'm unlikely to be buying one. I've already got a media-pc and an android tablet, and why would I want one of these when the Xbox720 and (presumably) a PS4 are due in a year or 2,

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