Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Big let down... (Score 1) 65

At first I was excited and expected different iPhones set to play sounds of different instruments along with a piece that had some sort of melody or at least interesting harmonics. 5 minutes of variations on a sine wave was underwhelming.

I don't find pop music very exciting, but The Mentalists (a 4-woman quartet) sound like four Wendy Carloses compared to those Michigan students:

The apps they used were DigiDrummer Lite (drums), Retro Synth (bass), MiniSynth (two keyboards on two iPhones), and Ocarina (electric flute-like instrument that required blowing into the iPhone's mic). They sang with their real voices, of course.

Comment Re:Jive with anyone else's experience. (Score 1) 264

According to consumer reports, the opposite has been true for a long time. Dell used to have terrible rates, and as of the last study, was doing poorly for desktops, but near the top for laptops. Apple consistently scores the highest for laptop reliability among all companies.

That's not true. According to the 2009 Consumer Reports Buying Guide (page 221), Apple laptops had the lowest reliability (but not "meaningfully" worse) among the eight companies listed from their Annual Product Reliability Survey.

The data was based on 75,576 survey responses and showed "the percentage of the following brands of computers bought between 2003 and 2007 that have ever been repaired or had a serious problem. Differences of less than 3 points are not meaningful." The brands, in order of fewest repairs to more repairs, were: Lenovo (20%), Compaq (20%), Sony (21%), Toshiba (21%), Dell (22%), HP (22%), Gateway (22%), and Apple (23%).

The buying guide (and other Consumer Reports articles) can be downloaded for free by most public library card holders (EBSCO database).

Comment Re:They tested Anti-virus software for malware (Score 1) 344

They tested Anti-virus software for malware

How about testing some malware removal programs? Malwarebytes, Adaware, Spybot?

How should we define "malware?" chose (for now) not to include "adware, spyware, dialers, tools and rogue programs" (which they define as "Potentially Unwanted Applications"). They do include viruses, trojans, backdoors, rootkits, exploits, DDoS, flooders, sniffers, and nukers (from their "methodology" pdf file).

Also, their "Removal-Test" page makes it clear that they are testing "Anti-Virus" products. I guess they are using the term "malware" because we expect "anti-virus" products to detect/remove more than just viruses (e.g. trojans, rootkits, etc.)

Comment Re:Am I the only one who cares? (Score 1) 267

From what I've seen it's probably one of the best distros for KDE, better than Fedora and Kubuntu.

I agree that Mandriva is a great distro for users that prefer KDE, but some users are more comfortable with a "big name" distro like openSUSE (which should be mentioned with Fedora and Kubuntu).

KDE will now be the "default" desktop in openSUSE 11.2 (due in 7 days). That link also describes "KDE integration" for GNOME-based apps like Firefox and

Anyhoo, I think it's worth trying both in "live distro" form.

Comment Re:Ouch! (Score 1, Offtopic) 557

And yet again, nothing headless in the mid-range

the idea of paying to replace your monitor every time Apple make your old product obsolete sounds a little absurd to me - I'm not interested in the iMacs.

I also dislike Apple's lack of choice in the mid-range (all-in-ones only), but the new 27-inch iMac lessens one major drawback a bit by adding a Mini DisplayPort input port. So that nice 27-inch display, which can have a longer useful life than the rest of the computer, can be re-used by another computer that can output a DisplayPort signal (DisplayPort outputs will probably be commonplace by then).

Note that converting from HDMI/DVI output to DisplayPort input requires a complicated adapter (unlike DisplayPort outputs).

Comment Re:While they're at it... (Score 1) 448

That reminds me...

For those who updated the Windows version of Adobe Reader (version 9.2 arrived last week), note that the update enables (or re-enables) AdobeARM.exe and Reader_sl.exe (Speed Launcher) as Windows startup programs without asking or giving you the option of not installing/enabling.

I can confirm that they can be disabled in Windows 2000 and XP using CCleaner. For those who don't have or want that great utility, I'm sure they can also be disabled in msconfig (Run...) and Windows Defender.

And yes, I know about Foxit Reader and other alternatives.

Comment Re:It's part of the Microsoft business model, IMO. (Score 1) 448

I fail to see how it would be beneficial to do an upgrade rather than a flat out re-format followed by re-install. The problem is the only reasonably priced versions of Windows 7 are upgrade versions that require me to have Vista on that machine. Thanks but I think I'll stick with XP on my home desktop for the time being.

You qualify for Windows 7's reduced upgrade pricing if you have Windows XP, too. From the Microsoft Store's pre-order page:

  • "You qualify for Windows 7 upgrade versions if you're running genuine Windows Vista or Windows XP on your PC."

Windows Vista is only required if you want to do the undesirable "in place" upgrade over your old OS installation. To install the upgrade version of Windows 7 on a Windows XP PC, you are required to do a "clean" installation (back up, erase old OS, install new OS, re-install apps). However, Windows XP users do qualify for "upgrade pricing."

I agree that it's always better (but more time-consuming) to do a clean install anyway, even if an "in place" upgrade is possible. Windows Easy Transfer (it's on the Windows 7 DVD) makes it somewhat easy by backing up user accounts and settings in addition to files.

Comment Re:On what desktop system do you use ECC? (Score 2, Interesting) 119

"Intel segments the market intentionally!"

Don't forget virtualization. With AMD, you don't have to pay a premium if you plan to run virtual machines.

You no longer have to pay a premium with Intel either. I've noticed that Intel recently began adding their "Virtualization Technology" to all new CPU models, even their entry-level Celeron and Pentium Dual-Core lines. Example: this $53 Celeron E3200 at Newegg.

I think Intel did this in response to Microsoft's announcement of Windows 7's "Windows XP Mode" and its requirement of on-CPU virtualization technology. AMD also recently started adding their "AMD-V" to their previously-excluded Sempron line of CPUs. Newegg has one for just $40.

For a long time (since the Pentium D days), Intel had a confusing market segmentation strategy where some models had it and some didn't, even within the same CPU family (Pentium D, Core 2 Duo). In contrast, after AMD-V was introduced, AMD added it to all of their newly released Athlon 64 and x2 CPUs (but not Sempron). And after the Core 2 Duo was introduced and kicked major butt, AMD dramatically dropped their prices, resulting in cheap AMD virtualization platforms.

Anyhoo, AMD isn't the only option anymore for cheap virtualization.

Comment Re:Oh. (Score 3, Informative) 353

What surprises me is that MS hasn't done much in the area(unless you are willing to go all the way to Windows Home Server). Architecturally, Volume Shadow Copy is abundantly powerful and has been available since before Time Machine even hit the scene; but you certainly wouldn't know about it from looking at any of the advertising, documentation, or spec sheets for non-server Microsoft OSes.

When accessed from the shell in client versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7, Shadow Copy is often called "Previous Versions." Back when Vista was released, I remember seeing it mentioned in reviews and on Microsoft's product info pages.

Maybe it wasn't a "front page" feature because it was only available in Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise (and not Home Premium). Thankfully, MS has corrected this mistake by including this feature (and all other backup features) in Windows 7 Home Premium as well.

Comment Re:People still use Ad-Aware? (Score 1) 68

Add in an anti virus software that does the same X number of processes in the background plus Ad-Aware thats way more bogged down software than ever. Ad-Aware used to be simple, clean and sleek, now it's just bloated shovelware (how quickly did they move from Version X to SE, to Version X.1?)

Stick with Spybot, Malwarebytes, HijackThis and a decent backup like Nod32, Avast or AVG, imho.

Some good recommendations (I'd add Avira AntiVir Personal to your list), but I think Microsoft Security Essentials (released 2 weeks ago) is now worth considering for free, non-bloated virus/malware protection. The initial reviews seem pretty good.

Comment Re:I like it and will recommend it to anyone. (Score 1) 465

If I were Microsoft I'd throw this on automatic Windows Update and push it out to everyone not already running an anti-virus.

Symantec can blow me.

Wouldn't Symantec cry to the DOJ and EU about "abusing monopoly power" or some other nonsense? I'm betting that Security Essentials will be kept off Windows Update "Recommended" section. They'll probably be cautious about putting in the "Optional" section or even providing a link in the "Security Center" in Windows.

Comment Re:Quicktime Alternative (Score 1) 267

Quicktime Alternative, FTW.. No iTunes, no iPhone, no iToilet...

Even better, VLC media player. Hardly a need to install anything!

Install both, FTW (including Media Player Classic Home Cinema, which is bundled with Quicktime Alternative). MPC-HC and VLC use different decoding frameworks, so they don't interfere with each other. Some stuff works better on MPC-HC (hardware accelerated decoding) and some stuff works better on VLC (broken/incomplete files). However, Apple's Quicktime is definitely NOT needed to play back non-DRM's video on Windows.

I'd rather not get into a K-Lite vs CCCP war, but I prefer CCCP plus QT Lite.

Comment Re:Affected Models (Score 2, Informative) 292

No, you can confirm that your own personal PS3 broke. That's it. You cannot confirm that there's some systemic problem with launch US PS3's.

Maybe not a confirmation, but after Ars Technica's Ben Kuchera mentioned that his 60GB PS3 died playing Batman: Arkham Asylum, he got responses from at least five others who also saw their PS3s die in similar fashion (Ben and Ars are based in the USA). He wrote a small article about it.

As Ben says, it's unscientific. They also had not heard of the term "Yellow Light of Death."

Slashdot Top Deals

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling