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Comment Re:The things windows does, as a real OS (Score 1) 558

Shall we take it one at a time?

I'm not denying that other systems do camparable things. I'm saying that of all of the other systems, each doesn't do one of the things that windows does, and that's enough to make up for the difference. You've listed OS X. Good for you. Now tell me that Android defrags, file indexes, window drags, and looks for printers. This isn't an exhaustive list. If you'd like me to find one major feature that windows does that OS X doesn't do that may consume power, then pay me to look.

USB polling. Yes I made up 50'000. I didn't look it up like you did. You like hard numbers. Let's take your 8'000 times per second. I like that number. I'm going to take your word that it's the fastest any USB 3.0 port gets polled anywhere in the world. I like hard concepts. So tell me: How many USB ports does your machine have? Mine has 8. So. Here we go. I know how much you like hard math. 8'000Hz per USB port, times 8 USB ports = 64'000Hz. Oh look at that. My totally made up number is completely incorrect. It's actually 64'000 times per second. Neener, neener.

So it does every last bit of that section, except for the one thing that you concede. Congrats. So you concede. I wasn't defending the overkill, nor was I commenting on it at all. It exists. Point made.

A fast registry is way faster than individual files. Writing to a file vs writing to memory is a huge difference. That's why the registry exists. It puts that entire application into memory. That's faster. It's also easier for a developer to call registry functions than to call file functions. Welcome to the windows API, it has some amazing benefits.

Hang on. I didn't know that OS X can run Perl in an HTML file. But I'm quite confident that Android cannot. I also didn't know that OS X has something equivalent to HTA support, where I can write HTML and JavaScript to write to the registry (prefs), manage files, control peripherals like cameras and printers and scanners and modems, pull live online content as well as local content, and produce a frameless chromeless securityless application with all of the power of a web browser. I didn't know about that. Again, I don't think iOS has that.

You'll find that most business software, written in VB, or HTA, or C++, and packaged with all of the relevant runtimes, works perfectly well still. I'm still doing it, and I'm still working for others doing it. There's XP-mode in vista for that reason. DOS applications still run. You can re-configure IE quite far back, all the way to 6 or even 5 I believe. Reversi from 3.1 still works. Some software has required small changes, but not large ones. And you might take note of a windows tool called "windows compatibility tool" which specifically sandboxes certain environment aspects in order to run older software. Every year someone upgrades from windows 1.0 to the latest windows to show things working. I can still run 16-bit applications, and I think 8-bit witha few work-arounds. Welcome to business-as-usual.

It's not about getting with the times. It's about having spent $100'000 on business automation tools twenty years ago. Business is running fine. Hardware dies. Software doesn't. Why would you want me to spend another $50'000 on something when what I have already works?

So I'll leave you the way I've left others. Put your own $500'000 dollars into your own business, and then decide how long you'd like things that you've built to work.

Comment Re:The things windows does, as a real OS (Score 1) 558

You're 98% incorrect.

You'll get the fragmentation whenever very large files and very small files are interchanged and deleted interactively on a near-full disk. It's that simple. There are no decisions for the OS to make when I create a 50MB file on a disk with only 55MB available. It goes into the one big empty block. Tomorrow, when I three blocks each of 50MB, the disk now has three big 50MB blocks open, in three different parts of the disk. When I write a 100MB file, it gets split into two place. There's simply no option about it.

As for better off backing the partition up, reformatting it and restoring, that's just not an option for any always-on workstation. You can't take down the business use for a random hour at a random time. Nor would you want to risk losing everything from a missed keystroke. That's just not the way business works.

Your options are to never come close to filling up your disk, or to never work on files of different sizes.

It's never been about where on the disk is the file. It's about how many times the file is split up. It makes a huge difference -- especially with read caches..

Comment Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (Score 2) 112

Many link me to those numbers. But they miss 90% of the cradle-to-grave. Think about before and after those measurements are taken. Think about repairing all of those lines after storms and damage.

We're not comparing grid-efficiency to fuel-efficiency. We're comparing grid-efficiency to nothing and fuel-efficiency to nothing. We'll then compare those final numbers.

The nice part about fuel like gasolene, is that the explosive force carries quite well into turning an axel. Most electric motors work through magnets. That's like working through a belt; there's a lot of slippage.

No, liquid fuel doesn't happen for free. Transport requires fuel. But that fuel is only spent while it's being transported. Liquid fuel sits still for reasonable periods of time at virtually 100% efficiency.

Look at electricity. See how business lights remain on at night. It's not for fun. It's not for safety. It's because if all lights turned on or off at the same time, the grid would choke. So in the end, lights stay on way longer than needed. That too is a big huge part of the waste. That's not in these numbers though. These numbers are purely end-to-end along the network. They don't take into account the accessorial needs of the network. Batteries lose charge just sitting still. Batteries lose electricity as they charge.

Liquid fuel can be transferred from tank to trunk to pump to car with effectively zero loss of fuel -- except for the few drops that you spilled onto the ground, and paid for anyway, all of the other transfer-loss simply gets gained again on the next use.

All I'm saying is that you need to look at it cradle-to-grave, end-to-end, start-to-finish. From a point where there is no electricity in existence to the point where your car moves that first micron. If you left your car in the garage overnight, it discharged 1%. There's your first 1%, and you haven't done anything yet. There's a small loss within the electric motor itself. There's a big loss when you charge the battery from the wall. Your wall has the 7% loss from the power plant that you mentioned. That 7% doesn't count the efforts to repair power lines when they break. Does it include charging the battery in the power plant? I doubt it, because most don't have any batteries. But that too will change. It'll need to change in order to support fleets of electric vehicles.

So for the electricity of the future to charge electric cars, we're in and out of batteries probably three times between the solar panel and the axel. That means six transfers. Then you have three transmissions -- to the plant, to the curb, to the garage. Then you have repair on all of those systems. See liquid fuel skips the garage step entirely, and the many curbs are replaced with the fewer pumps. So the number of transmissions drops precipitously.

Oh, I almost forgot. Yes electric heaters are near 100% to convert electricity into heat. But that doesn't mean it gets very hot very fast. Combustion, on the other hand, is the very definition of hot fast.

Comment Re:The things windows does, as a real OS (Score 1) 558

It isn't a real OS because if you used it in your business five years ago, you couldn't still be using it today. Some of my business software is over twenty years old. So is my business. I don't want to go through the expense of re-writing backoffice administrative software for no reason. It's not profitable to do so.

There's huge value in supporting really old crap. But hey, start your own business today, use OS X, and see where you are in ten years. Then you can decide if it was worth it.


Ask Slashdot: Legal Advice Or Loopholes Needed For Manned Space Program 201

Kristian vonBengtson writes "A DIY, manned space program like Copenhagen Suborbitals is kept alive by keeping total independence, cutting the red tape and simply just doing it all in a garage. We basically try to stay below the radar at all time and are reluctant in engagements leading to signing papers or do things (too much) by the books. But now there might be trouble ahead. (Saul Goodman! We need you...) During the last 5 years we have encountered many weird legal cases which does not make much sense and no one can explain their origin. If we were to fix up a batch of regular black gunpowder (which we use for igniters) we are entitled for serving time in jail. Even a few grams. But no one give a hoot about building a rocket fueled with 12 tonnes of liquid oxygen and alcohol. Thats is perfectly legal. If Copenhagen Suborbitals fly a rocket into space for the first time there are likely legal action that must be dealt with. At my time at the International Space University we had lectures and exams in space law and I remember the Outer Space Treaty which is the most ratified space treaty with over 100 countries including Denmark and U.S. And here is the matter – in which I seek some kind of advice or what you may call it: Outer Space Treaty, Article 6 states: 'the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty.' Does this mean that Denmark (or any other country for that matter – if it was your project) suddenly have to approve what we are doing and will be kept responsible for our mission, if we launch into space?"

Comment Re:In the middle, a giant WTF (Score 1) 558

Oh, hey, 15 years ago, I'm with you 100%. But in the last 15 years, between myself and my associate, we've got 1'500 workstations that have never had any registry issues since 1998. And if you read the hive design, it operates like a transactional database.

So if you've been having problems with it recently, say vista or 7, I'd love to hear what caused it -- viruses aside, obviously. I mean, I've lost hard drives, I've corrupted raid controllers, I've crashed a thousand applications, I've had power failures a'plenty. The registry's always been perfect.

Comment Re:The things windows does, as a real OS (Score 1) 558

majority != all.
Much != all.
The computer may never be plugged in, and on. You don't want the computer to suddenly be slow and busy when you plug it in. Operating on battery means all features, not some features. That's like saying that when operating on battery, it should drop half the ram, and not access the second disk. That doesn't count. Operating means operating.

Comment Re:The things windows does, as a real OS (Score 1) 558

ok, I'll quote your whole thing too, it'll save me the hassle of referring to your points with a few nouns.

Defragging a potentially huge disk, in the background, on-the-fly, so the disk never slows down.

Why on earth would it do this while on battery? Can't it wait until the machine is plugged in again?

No, because you may never plug it in, and when you do, you don't suddenly want it to have loads of work to do and slow you down when you want it at its fastest.

File search index, in the background, on-the-fly, so you can search faster. You can turn this off.

Again, why do this by default when on battery?

Again, for the same reason.

Full window dragging, and many other graphics enhancements. You can turn these off.

This will have almost no impact on battery life unless you are spending most of your time dragging around windows for your own amusement.

Hence my words "and many other graphics enhancements". Read more.

Is the printer still there? Let's check again.

Why? If I'm not trying to print anything, who cares if the printer is there.

Because then you'll have no idea why it isn't there. Much easier to know what's wrong when it goes wrong, rather than six days later. If you don't want to know about your printer, unplug it. Or turn this feature off.

Port polling, did you know that a USB port might gett polled 50'000 times per second? You can turn this down. A lot.

Why default to such an aggressive polls/second while on battery?

Welcome to high-speed and responsive. If you want it slower and laggy, you can easily change it.

Scheduled tasks. Oh so many scheduled tasks. You probably have over 1'000 defined.

I certainly didn't schedule over 1000 tasks. Why are there over 1000 tasks scheduled and why are they scheduled to run while on battery?

All of the above things are scheduled. Those things happen on battery power too. Like printing. Battery power doesn't mean you lose features.

Is the internet still connected? Let's check again.

Why? I'll know as soon as a webpage can't load.

Same as with the printer. Knowing that you won't be able to load a webpage is much more useful when you sit down to get some work done. And there are internet-related activities that don't involve a webpage that you requested. Sometimes we have tools and applications and utilities running in the background that depend on the connectivity. If it's gone, that means my scheduled backup that will run overnight won't work. I should fix it now, because I won't be around overnight to see it not working. I also don't check it every time it runs, because it's robust, and can handle a missing connection for one night -- it'll try again a few hours later. But I should know that things are dying all around me before it becomes an issue. Welcome to business.

An actual software Firewall. You can turn it off, or make it much simpler.

If this has any effect on battery life then it is horribly, horribly written.

If there's one feature that can be a little better, but it would consume more power, should it be thrown out? We're talking about security here. Oh yeah, windows also checks to see that your anti-virus exists, and is functioning properly -- with active tests. Should it not check to see that your third-party virus scanner is functioning properly? What would you like to happen if your virus scanner just crashes silently one day? Do you ever check on it?

Multi-user, multi-profile. Everything gets doubled.

You have multiple users logged into your laptop while on battery? Sure, it's possible but, I find it highly unlikely that most people do.

Actually, since most of the above features run as a system user, you're always logged into multiple accounts. Typically three accounts -- your own, the system account, and the other system account. And often also the admin account if you're doing anything with elevated privs. So up to four accounts concurrently. Your user account may not have access to the things that you've scheduled to happen in the background.

Is the printer still there? Let's check again.
Is the internet still connected? Let's check again.

See above.

See above.

Event logging. Windows knows what it's doing, because it takes the time to write it down.

That's the only potentially valid thing you've said so far. Well, the first sentence at least.

Ok then. I guess you've never needed to look at logs from a week ago. That's fine. I have. But my machine is responsible for doing things without me, so that's a semi-common thing in my world.

The windows registry. It's probably the single most reliable aspect of any operating system. It's incredibly fast, always-on, used tens of thousands of times in a single moment by a any application -- my graphics suite writes 12'000 registry entries when I close the application. And you never need to worry about it getting corrupted.

At this point I'm wondering if this is actually a troll.

Run Paint shop pro, photoshop, ultraedit. You'll see over 50'000 registry reads and writes on start-up. And they all happen within 1 second. I've written some of my own software anchored to the registry. It's fantastic. It runs with the reliability of a transactional database. It hasn't corrupted on any of my 50 machines or my associate's 1'300 machines in the last 15 years.

No fewer than eight different scripting languages available at any moment.

I don't see how this could affect battery life at all.

Many scripting languages are interpreted languages, and are purely CPU bound. They weren't all invented for power efficiency. There's no choice in the matter. If you want to support an old language that only exists in one way, then that's the way. If anything you're running, or want to run in an instant, uses said language, then it's going to consume power in its own way.

Twenty versions of a single DLL loaded concurrently, for cross-decade application compatibility.

Except for the disk access to read the DLLs, just having them in memory makes no difference at all.

Fast active memory uses power. Modern memory shunts chip by chip based on usage. Swapping memory when you're over-capacity takes disk reads, disk writes, memory reads, and memory writes. ECC memory does even more work.

Comment Re:The things windows does, as a real OS (Score 1) 558

I don't imagine it does all of that same stuff. I've been using most of these things for decades now. There's an awful lot of stuff in windows that someone doesn't need. There's very little that no one needs, but for any given user, I can usually disable a good 80% of the system. I used to do it to lock down a kiosk, for example. It's amazing how many files I'd outright delete from the OS. Loads of services and drivers and executable and panels, and such. I can't imagine any other OS would support quite so many things.

Comment Really? (Score 2) 558

My Nexus 4 phone barely lasts my work day. My iPad needs to be charged every day. I can get a few days out of my Nexus 10 unless I even touch a game. About the only device that lasts the week is my iPod Touch, but then I use it mostly as my alarm clock.

I think this is a pretty universal problem. Batteries have not kept up to the demand of CPU performance required by our devices, period.

Of course with relevance to article. when the author realizes that Surface Pro is a laptop (i.e. PC ) and iPad is a device built from phone hardware maybe he might realize how stupid the question was.

It would be more relevant to compare Surface Pro to MacBooks and ask how Macbooks can last the day while Surface Pro won't last more then a few hours.

Comment Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (Score 2) 112

My grandfather, now 92 years old, has been screaming at his condo building for two decades now. They have a pool, and a sauna. It's an electric sauna. Because it takes time to warm up, people turn it on, go for a quick swim, and come back to it 15 minutes later when it's hot. In the end, the electric sauna runs electric current through a resistor for an hour to heat up and stay hot for the people inside. It winds up being something rediculous like 10 kWh for a 1 hour sauna, where just a few drops of liquid fuel would easily achieve the same levels of heat, at a tiny fraction of the cost.

The energy loss across the electrical grid is staggering when you look at it from cradle to grave. It winds up being close to or over 40%, and it's absurd.

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