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Comment Re:Why is Windows 10 the benchmark? (Score 1) 205

I should add, the evidence of this is plentiful. Anyone remember the days of IDE PIO ? Before IDE DMA and in particular before command and data blocks could be fully buffered by a hardware FIFO in the control, IDE PIO was a complete disaster. It barely worked (and quite often didn't). And we had to pull out the stops as device driver writers to get it work as well as it did (which wasn't very well).

-Matt

Comment Re:Why is Windows 10 the benchmark? (Score 5, Informative) 205

Not quite true A.C. The instructions for those old 8-bit CPUs could be synchronized down to a single clock tick (basically crystal accuracy), thus allowing perfect read and write sampling of I/O directly. We could do direct synthesis and A/D sampling, for example, with no cycle error, as well as synchronize data streams and then burst data with no further handshaking. It is impossible to do that with a modern CPU, so anything which requires crystal-accurate output has to be offloaded to (typically an FPGA).

RTOSs only work up to a point, particularly because modern CPUs have supervisory interrupts (well, Intel at least has the SMI) which throw a wrench into the works. But also because it is literally impossible to count cycles for how long something will take. A modern RTOS works at a much higher level than the RTOSs and is unable to provide the same rock solid guarantees that the 8-bit RTOSs could.

-Matt

Comment Re:model Slashdot response (MS DOS-ickies r.i.p.) (Score 3, Informative) 205

Looks interesting... I've pre-ordered two (both cpu models, 4G) for DragonFlyBSD, we'll get it working on them. Dunno about the SD card, but a PCIe SSD would certainly work. BIOS is usually the sticking point on these types of devices. Our graphics stack isn't quite up to Braswell yet but it might work in frame buffer mode (without accel). We'll see. The rest of it is all standard intel insofar as drivers are concerned.

My network dev says the Gigabit controller is crap :-) (he's very particular). But for a low-end device like this nobody will care.

All the rest of the I/O is basically just pinned out from the Intel cpu. Always fun to remark on specs, but these days specs are mostly just what the cpu chip/chipset supports directly.

I'm amused that some people in other comments are so indignant about the pricing. Back in the day, those of us who hacked on computers (Commodore, Atari, TRS-80, Apple-II, later the Amiga, etc) saved up and spent what would be equivalent to a few thousand dollars (in today's dollars) to purchase our boxes. These days enthusiast devices are *cheap* by comparison. My PET came with 16KB of ram and a tape cassette recorder for storage, and I later expanded it to 32KB and thought it was godly.

-Matt

Comment Re: No? (Score 1) 375

True, but it does weigh towards them. If the intent was good and the effects were good, then it's fairly easy to argue that the action was moral and right even if it was illegal. If that is the case, a pardon would be justified. (The question becomes then if the effects were good - I've read decent arguments both ways, though the 'it was worth it' articles seem a bit more detailed and thought out.)

Comment Re:Wagging the dog (Score 1) 551

What new and relevant thing do you want to see in the phone? I for one can't really think of anything. I don't really need a better camera, for example, nor do I need any on-phone storage. LTE (or LTE-A) is plenty fast enough, no point having more bandwidth that I'm not going to pay the cell carrier for. Wifi is plenty fast enough. Games run fine on the -6 so they'll run fine on the -7. What's left?

-Matt

Comment Intel must love these articles (Score 1) 276

So full of complete nonsense. Throwing out terms without knowing what they actually mean, let alone whether an operating system actually has to make any changes to support it.

Take speed-shift for example... all it does is remove the need for the OS to calculate a P-state for HLT/MWAIT. All ACPI has to do is present a smaller list of P states and *ANY* OS that supports HLT/MWAIT p-state setting (which basically worked meaningfully from Haswell onward) will instantly be using SpeedShift. There's nothing to 'support' unless the OS is coded to intentionally break it.

AMD's SMT improvements don't need any OS-specific coding. The original bulldozer architecture *DID* need OS-specific coding, because it was a piece of shit (and a lot of us just didn't bother to code the OS to try to characterized mixed integer/FP loads), but continuing to use that coding in the newer architecture doesn't really cost anything. And, again, the CPU topology is made available to the OS via ACPI, and any OS since before Sandybridge could use it. Linux and the BSDs have been using the topology info provided by ACPI for years, and Microsoft had better have been too, so no specific OS coding is required.

What a load of crap.

-Matt

Comment Re:Don't buy a Mac for Specs. (Score 2) 472

Not to mention that the 4 year old model is a legacy model - the only Mac laptop with FireWire, a CD/DVD drive, and an Ethernet port. (As well as a non-Retina screen.) It fills a very specific niche in the Mac market.

Most of the rest of the Mac lineup is closer to a year old. Intel's bobble of the last processor refresh definitely affected Macs - the chips that would likely to be used for most Mac models were delayed (some long enough that Apple has obviously decided to wait for the next generation) or not released at all - and if you're tracking Mac refreshes thinking when's a good time to buy now isn't it, but the only 'seriously old' models are the one Macbook, the Mac Mini, and the Mac Pro. The MacBook is a legacy model kept for specific uses because it doesn't cost them much to keep it in the lineup, and the Mini and Pro are niche models that were scheduled for longer-cycle refresh when Intel bobbled their processors.

Comment No stability (Score 0) 236

Firefox has been extremely unstable for us for at least the last year. Finally putting a process behind each tab is an important step, certainly, but its one they should have implemented 2+ years ago. I also really wish Mozilla would stop with all the useless bells and whistles that nobody uses and instead focus on stabilizing the code they have.

My recommendation... switch to chrome. It's a much better browser.

-Matt

Comment Re:Scottish so can't vote but... (Score 1) 993

The problem at the moment is that to do such we need to get something through Congress - either a law, or (more likely) a constitutional amendment. And the people who benefit most from the current system are those currently in Congress.

Heck, we can't even get every American citizen a representative in Congress because it doesn't benefit Congress. (Washington D.C., the 22nd largest city in the country, has no representatives in Congress because it's not a state. To get it representatives would require an amendment - which no Republican will vote for because it's one of the most heavily Democratic areas in the entire country.)

Comment Re:That part of one line says it all! (Score 3, Insightful) 128

I'd argue that that one line is incorrect. TSA's job isn't to make airline passengers feel safer. It's to make them feel like they should feel unsafe except for the fact that the TSA is there.

That is: Their job is to make you think that you need them to do their job, and that without them you would be killed.

Comment BBEdit (Score 1) 286

BBEdit on Mac (my normal computing platform), in Markdown format. (Usually Pandoc-flavored markdown.) That's if I want the notes to last more than five minutes.

Under five minute notes are often on paper, using either pen or pencil. (Mechanical pencil preferred, but pen's easier to find.)

On other platforms I'll take whatever is the best text editor I can find commonly available - vi or some derivative on most Unix/Linux boxes.

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