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Comment Re:Never met anyone who uses it. (Score 1) 245

Not only have I used BSD, but I'd say that it shaped my adult life.

As a teen, I signed up for a UNIX timeshare service that utilized a Sun SPARCstation running SunOS 4 (4.3BSD based). You got a Csh and a T1 to the 'Net. When they started offering SLIP service, I installed AmiTCP, an Amiga port of the NetBSD network stack which also included many /bin commands and /etc conf files.

I eventually took the plunge and installed NetBSD 0.9 on my Amiga 3000. Later, it was FreeBSD 2.x on my 486/66. While most people in my university programming classes were using Turbo C, I was using GCC. Classmates took MFC/C++ as an elective, I took Perl. Friends were using IPX on their home network, I was using TCP/IP with a FreeBSD box acting as a dial-on-demand gateway.

Having so much networking experience, I drifted from the programming side of computers into networking. My experience with BSD eventually landed me a job with a networking startup that used an embedded *BSD OS as the base for their product. Since then, I've used BSD based gear from Citrix (Netscaler), F5 (BIG-IP, EDGE-FX and 3DNS), Nokia (IPSO Firewall) and Secure Computing (Sidewinder firewall) as part of my job. I've been at it for over 15 years.

I still use FreeBSD for development here at home. DragonFlyBSD is also nice, though I prefer Ports over Pkgsrc, which is why I stuck with FreeBSD.

Comment Re:Why would you want to game on Linux (Score 2) 332

The migration to Linux goes beyond simply bringing games to a new platform. It could be seen as an attempt by Valve to diversify in light of Microsoft's and Apple's closed app store platforms.

In the future, Windows and MacOS may only allow you to install new software packages through their stores. They may allow a small number of third party stores to exist in order to prevent anti-trust accusations, but chances are that they'll demand a cut of all sales.

No such issues of power consolidation currently exist in the Linux desktop ecosystem. I don't think the culture would allow it. Just look at how their cousins over in the Android mobile sector deal with it - a few taps in the system settings and you're free to install all the apps from 3rd party sites you want.

Comment Drop the $2 and the penny while you're at it (Score 1) 943

Dollar bills are horrible for vending machines. About half of the bills in my wallet are in questionable condition, and most aren't even a decade old. Meanwhile, I have have a couple of coins in my pocket that are from the 1950s and 60s. Still perfectly good.

The two dollar bill never really took off in the US. Supposedly some people find them unlucky. Dump 'em for a $2 coin. Works for Canada.

If you really want to get bold, move the currency from two decimal places to one (coins would be $0.1, $0.2 and $0.5). The penny has less real value today than the half-penny had in its day when it was dropped. Sure, we could just round to the nearest nickle to keep 5Â and 25Â pieces good, but we're almost to a point where it costs more to mint a nickle than what its face value is.

Comment Re:Would you even trust sites on these new TLDs? (Score 1) 135

I expect that scammers and other unscrupulous vendors will be the first one to use them.

I actually wanted to see more accountability in domain names, not less. The entire meaning of .com, .org, .net and .edu has been blurred because anyone could register any name. The new TLDs will just make the problem worse.

But hey, a small number of people are going to make a LOT of money from this. So that makes this a good idea, right?

Comment Re:It doesn't need Sinofsky... (Score 1) 70

I agree. I had VS 2012 Express installed for about a day before I backed it out and reinstalled VS 2010 Express. I tried to give it a chance but the menus gave me a headache.

Having said that, VS 2010 is a very nice product to work with. I say that as somebody who uses a Scintilla-based editor and who also has the Eclipse IDE installed. My complaints about VS are few and far between.

Comment Re:They don't like autohop? (Score 2) 142

At this point, I consider broadcast television to be a waste of my time. Roughly 25-30% of any given program is dedicated to advertisement. For a 30 minute show, this doesn't leave enough running time to have much depth in the story. You really need the full hour to do much. Even with hour-plus shows, the commercial blocks are now so long that you lose the suspense and drama that builds up, so why bother?

Also, the ads usually have little relevance for me. The majority of ads I see on television these days are targeted at seniors. That says a lot about the demographics of the people who are still left watching ads.

So I stopped watching most of the 30 minute shows and now resort to my DVR, Netflix, RedBox and other sources for the remaining content. Hulu really isn't one of them anymore now that they increased their ad count and refuse to make Hulu+ ad free.

My hope is that commercial supported television dies and is replaced by pay-per-view or subscription models. The technology is there, but media companies have huge ownership stakes in cable companies and are resistant to such change. Also, seniors living on fixed incomes consume a huge amount of television and would resist any change because they often have have little disposable income.

Were such a shift to occur, a bright spot would be the return of smarter content. Remember that advertisers dislike shows that draw in intelligent viewers because said viewers have better critical analysis skills and therefore are less swayed by commercials. Nix the ads and that barrier goes away.

Comment Re:AMD might stand a chance (Score 4, Interesting) 213

I'm sure this is just AMD hedging their bets against multiple processor ISAs. There are places where ARM is better than x86/x86-64, so it makes sense to try and dominate those niches. It falls in line perfectly with AMD being a less expensive alternative to Intel.

Given that Intel is trying to wind down its StrongARM line it inherited from DEC, AMD may see the ARM line as a place where it can finally be top dog. It has the expertise to give Broadcom, TI and Samsung a run for their money.

Taking a really big drink from the hypothetical Kool-Aid, I could see ARM64 processors being used as x86-64 replacements in palmtops and laptops. There are a couple of x86 to ARM translators on the market, which would solve the binary compatibility issue. I used FX!32 back during the NT4 and NT5beta days with my DEC workstation, and it made emulated binaries about 90% as fast as native. With advances in JITC translators and a cleanup of the x86-64 ISA to make it closer to meeting Popek and Goldberg virtualization requirements, I could see a good modern translator being 95+% as fast as native x86-64 code.

I've been expecting Apple to churn out a Power Book with an ARM processor and a binary translator. They did it with m68K -> PPC and PPC -> x86, so I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see x86 -> ARM. Now imagine it with an AMD ARM64 SoC at the heart of it.

Comment Re:Do Not Want (Score 1) 376

The problem with a hoverman is that it is UHF only. Many DTV stations in North America still use the VHF-Hi band as well.

I use a dual-band Yagi antenna here at home. The UHF section is more directional (more elements) than the VHF section since the former suffers more from fade. The nice thing is that once you drop elements for the VHF-Lo band, the antenna gets much smaller, and by dropping support for UHF channels above 700MHz that are used for cellular, the UHF section is better tuned versus old Radio Shack antennas from the '50s - '80s.

Comment This is actually an upgrade to an existing system (Score 2) 65

The USAF already has a system for detecting objects orbiting the planet called SPASUR. It operates on the VHF band just above the North American slot for TV channel 13.

The new "space fence" will operate on the S band, which is a microwave frequency. The idea is that the shorter wavelength will allow ground radar to detect smaller debris than could be detected with the longer wavelength SPASUR system.

Comment Re:Kill XP? (Score 1) 405

I won't pay for software I have to ask permission to use.

Then you will miss out on many software packages in the current marketplace.
 

I won't build my business on software that can arbitrarily stop working if some monkey pushes the wrong patch to the activation servers.

Microsoft activation doesn't work that way. You activate once at first boot. Installing service packs and some patches triggers a Genuine Windows check. If your XP machine is fully activated and the MS activation servers go south, your copy of Windows and Office will continue to work.

There are versions of XP for corporate use that do not have activation. I've also heard that copies downloaded from MSDN omit activation as well. If it bothers you that much, you could try to acquire those versions.

Comment Re:Time spent? (Score 2) 361

The [Chinese] students spent most of the time studying on math exams trying to mesmerize all the equations, while here in Finland we could take the equation book with us to the exam, and the test was about how well we understood and could implement.

For decades scholars have pointed out how Asian schools focus on rote memorization while western schools focus more on practical application. It has created an environment where the west invents and the east refines.

The United States has started shifting towards a more eastern approach due to the federal "No Child Left Behind Act" which requires extensive testing using standardized exams. Dynamic learning is being replaced by rote memorization. I could see this significantly hampering creativity in the youth of the US. But many people like to see simple definitive reports on the progress of their youth. Standardized exams provide that. It is much harder to evaluate complex and abstract thinking.

You have the best schools and some of the smartest students, but you also have some pretty bad schools...

There are about 5 million Finns versus 300 million Americans. Even if Finland produces a higher rate of doctorates per capita than the US, the simple fact that the US has 60× the population means that the US going to produce more overall.

And a major problem is the US is that the quality of the schools are very inconsistent. In areas heavily populated by poor minorities or in the Bible Belt, schools will often be substandard either because they lack the funding or because the areas lack an emphasis on (or have an outright aversion to) strong education. Once you get out of those areas, the quality of education becomes comparable to northwestern Europe.

Comment Re:Lucky bastards (Score 1) 296

Many companies have not yet certified Windows 7 for corporate deployment. So even if the laptop came with Windows 7, they'll reinstall with the corporate XP build. Keep in mind that corporations are a LOT more sensitive about certification. They won't run a version of software unless it is certified. That takes time and money to do.

Another issue is that some third party products are built to work with older versions of software and they puke when you come along with something newer. Stuff built to work only with IE6 is a prime example. You can yell and scream at the manufacturers of those products all you want, but when you're a captive audience, quite often they'll take their sweet time getting to the issue because they realize the cost it'll be for you to switch to something else.

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