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Comment Re:seems the Mac premium is disappearing (Score 4, Insightful) 224

For the base model. Just don't select any upgrades. Especially don't select RAM upgrades. Apple charges $100 to upgrade from 4GB to 8GB of RAM... so effectively $100 for 4GB. You can get 8GB of brand name (Corsair, G.Skill, Crucial...) laptop ram at RETAIL for less than $70.

Note that the Airs have their DDR3L memory soldered directly onto the motherboard to save space. You can't buy aftermarket memory for those models, so this advice is out of date at best.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 300

The answer to both questions is the same: because subscription revenue alone no longer covers the costs of content and distribution. Advertising is why XBL is $50/year for all of the services they provide instead of $200 for fewer services. Or to use a cable TV example, it's why every channel producing scripted content isn't $15/month like HBO.

Which is not to say it's a great outcome, but the public has shown time and time again that they'll accept advertising in exchange for staving off service cost increases. As MS has found out, all of that content that makes users flock to XBL (and hopefully flock to XB1) is expensive.

Comment Keyword: Beta Driver (Score 5, Informative) 251

The submitter is reading too much into this. The drivers linked are beta drivers - this is not the first time AMD hasn't published an XP version of a beta driver, due to the relatively low number of XP users on 5000/6000/7000 series video cards (all of which are post-Win7). XP is supported by the current WHQL certified driver (13.4) and I expect the next certified driver will support XP, too. If and when AMD does drop XP support they'll announce it a couple of versions ahead of time, just as they did for Win9x and Win2K.

Comment Will make them angry? (Score 4, Interesting) 403

Undoubtedly it will make the some people angry.

But for anyone that does Windows graphics development and knows something about the underlying system, it's not a big deal. We've known that adding some of these features to Direct3D would require making some changes to the underlying display driver stack (WDDM), which is why D3D 11.2 requires WDDM 1.3 drivers, and WDDM 1.3 requires Windows 8.1. Unless of course you want Microsoft backporting a new version of the display driver stack and breaking your old OSes...

TL;DR: D3D 11.2 requiring Win8.1 can't be helped

Comment Re:Resolution (Score 2, Informative) 397

That would be with XP style scaling. On WinVista and later that mode can only be used with scaling levels less than or equal to 125%. After 125% you get Vista style scaling, which depending on how well behaved an application is will result in one of two things.

If the application is flagged as being DPI scaling aware (Office, web browsers, etc) then the application will take care of scaling on its own, and hopefully render a suitably large image natively. If an application isn't flagged as being DPI scaling aware, then Vista reverts to "fractional scaling", where it simply does a bilinear upscale of the application window, resulting in a blurry, god-awful mess where nothing was rendered natively.

Apple does something similar here, but their innovation was that instead of resorting to fractional scaling on non-aware applications they do integer scaling, which is far cleaner in practice. Furthermore all of Apple's drawing APIs were retina aware, so applications that weren't fully retina aware themselves could still have their text drawn natively, whereas Vista would always have to upscale the resulting Window.

The worst case scenario then for Mac OS X (a non-aware application not using Apple's drawing APIs) is that at the default 2x setting (backing scale factor 2.0) every element will simply be scaled up by a factor of 4:1; every 1 pixel now occupies 4 pixels. This means that there aren't any benefits gained from using the retina display, but using integer scaling means that this doesn't introduce any fractional interpolation artifacts that hurt the text quality, since every original text pixel maps cleanly to 4 display pixels.

Right now the expectation is that Microsoft will be introducing something similar in Win8.1. There's only so much they can do without breaking backwards compatibility, but if they follow Apple's "render big then scale down" philosophy rather than Vista's "render small and scale up" philosophy, then results should be much cleaner.

Comment Re:Proprietary ports? (Score 2) 397

Samsung should have put in a Thunderbolt port and sold adapters.

At the very least they should have put in mini-DP. What's the point of a 3200x1800 monitor, and not having the ability to drive an external/second monitor even half that resolution? Micro-HDMI is cute, but it's incredibly limited in 2013. One mini-DP1.2 port would get you the ability to drive a 4K monitor, or easily convert it over to HDMI or VGA.

Comment Re:Was performance the problem? (Score 1) 157

Tegra 3 wasn't bad. But on Surface RT there were also times where it was clearly not up to the task of running Windows software.

Simply typing quickly in Microsoft Word maxes the single threaded performance of Tegra 3's ARM Cortex A9 cores. I've seen CPU usage a high as 50% when typing very quickly, but mostly it tends to sit between 20 - 40%. Switch to notepad and max CPU utilization drops to sub 10%. This says more about Office 2013 than the performance of NVIDIA's Tegra 3, but there are not a whole lot of spare CPU cycles to go around with Surface.

Comment Re:Don't we already have this? (Score 1) 257

There's still no nationwide database in the US of all stolen IMEI numbers

Actually there is. The two major GSM carriers, T-Mobile and AT&T, share a database. Sprint and Verizon will be joining that database by the end of the year; though not that stealing a CDMA phone does you much good on a GSM network and vice versa at the moment. In any case the problem is that the IMEI database is not enough;

  1. IMEIs are not unique. We've hit the equivalent of IPv4 space exhaustion. So they're simply reusing IMEIs now.
  2. IMEIs can be changed on a number of phones, so it's not a reliable way to keep a phone blocked.
  3. These IMEI databases are not shared on a global level, and there's really no way to force everyone to work together. China Telecom for example has little incentive to block iPhones stolen in other countries

The solution then is that rather than merely unreliably blocking a phone, the phone needs to be disabled entirely so that a stolen phone cannot be of any value. It essentially needs to be (reversibly) destroyed if stolen, to eliminate all financial incentive for stealing a phone. This is why the Attorneys General and other law enforcement officials want kill switches, so that shipping a purloined phone overseas is no longer a viable business, ultimately leading to criminals to stop stealing the damn things.

Comment Re:Deal breaker (Score 1) 581

The problem is that both of those are also true for the XB1. You can play used games on it (you just have to resell it through a partnering retailer) and it's not an always-on console because it can be disconnected for up to 24 hours.

Consequently Sony could deliver the same thing as Microsoft, and technically they'd still live up to their promises.

Comment Re:Is I also said on Ars... (Score 1) 404

The NSA and the CIA are rogue states within the state, they are beyond control and are not acting for you, or in your best interests

Respectfully, I disagree.

I enjoy living in the most prosperous, most powerful nation in the world. And despite the fact that we have numerous foreign enemies and more than a few domestics, our security services have managed to keep attacks against the civilian population to an incredibly low number. Not being maimed, killed, or otherwise having my life ruined is absolutely in my best interest.

And despite the fact that the less trustful members of this site consider this Orwellian, the fact remains that I'm free to go anywhere I want, profess my beliefs, and vote for those candidates I believe in. And all the while I'm not being harassed by any kind of government organization, unlike the STASI and other organizations you mention.

So why am I not angry or outraged? Because quite frankly life is good right now. Other than telling TSA to take a hike - and I consider the TSA's mission to be well meaning but misguided - the security services that protect me have been able to improve their ability to protect me without impacting the quality of my life. My interest is to continue living a good life, and our security services are part of what it takes to uphold that. So I'd say they're very much acting in my interests.

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