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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.

Comment Re:I have an idea... (Score 1) 231

So? They have two industries that are hurting. They can help both with a fairly simple plan. Now, it may be better to send the electricity to a nearby country or something instead of transferring it internally - I don't know who could use it most, or what's most cost-effective - but it seems like a sensible plan either way.

Comment Re:All of the above (Score 1) 229

Exactly. The only reason I'm not still making nightly backups via Tarsnap is that I'm completely broke, and can't afford it. Otherwise I'd have all of the above. (And I'm nervous that I don't have off-site - I just can't afford the cost at the moment, so redundant on-site will have to do for now.)

Comment The real question (Score 1) 211

Is ... can I run DragonFly on it? Or is the BIOS locked to Chrome ? If this baby has the normal write-protect screw / developer mode BIOS features that allow us to run whatever we want on it instead of being locked to chrome, then great!

We've had great success with the older Acer C720[P] (running a mobile haswell cpu) running DragonFly. So if one of these new HP Skylake-m babies allows me to cut into the dance then I'll give it a big thumbs up.

I'll have to buy one to find out, I guess.

-Matt

Comment Re:iPhone 5s with dying battery (Score 1) 183

I will impart a warning here. I have a friend who has repeatedly tried to use non-Apple batteries in his Apple mobile devices and its been a dismal failure for him. Spend the money to have Apple replace your battery, you will be happier in the end.

Apple laptops... well, the ones with replaceable batteries are a different story. Going third-party there works fairly well. The ones that don't... again spend the money to have Apple do it for you, you will be happier in the end.

Another recommendation... when possible, always leave your devices plugged in. This causes the Apple battery management software to properly load cycle the full battery and will significantly increase battery life. I usually bring along an external battery and just keep my phone plugged in whenever possible for that very reason (when convenient).

My ipad-1's battery is still in great shape (now going on 6 years old), though the ipad-1 itself doesn't have enough memory to really be able to run much any more. My ipad-2 as well. 512M of ram isn't enough to run apps smoothly any more on the ipad-2 (and the ipad-1 can barely run anything), but the battery is in great shape because I leave the devices plugged in as much as possible.

-Matt

Comment The key event (Score 1) 183

Perhaps not one key event, but a combination of solid state storage removing the hard-drive-failure event that often drove people to upgrade, CPU performance topping out, and RAM well beyond anything most programs need have all conspired together to give us desktops, laptops, and mobile devices that basically no longer get 'old'. Not to mention that power consumption is low enough now that PSUs just aren't burning out like they used to :-).

Something strange happened in the last year or two. I buy computers all the time for DragonFly testing, so I have a pile of machines of all different kinds including a bunch of BRIX form-factor units. I stuff nominal sweet-spot memory and storage into them all, always, because they get repurposed or farmed out to friends all the time to make room for new hw.

The strange thing that happened... it became convenient to just throw 8-16GB of ram into all of these things. Even the tiny little BRIX. And even the little BRIX can dual-head two 4K displays, and easily fit a 2.5" SSD (and so can hold quite a bit of storage). None of these boxes have any moving components except a fan or two. They don't fail if I put them on a shelf for a year.

Up until about 2 years ago I was regularly throwing away my oldest hardware, including the bulky cases (which had to be large enough to hold a CD and/or DVD and several 3.5" drives).

But the remainder of that really old hardware petered out last year. Now there's no reason at all to throw away my 'new' old hardware... it is still useful enough that I can give it away or repurpose some of its components. The cases are all small so I just reuse those if I can't find any use for the mobo. I reuse the SSDs (I never reused old hard drives). I reuse the PSUs (if any). There's no graphics card to replace since it is built into the cpu.

In fact, the only thing I haven't been able to recycle in the new old machines have been the DIMMs due to continuous technology changes, but those just stay with the original motherboard.

In our colocation for DragonFly our blade server (12 x haswell blades in 2U) has handled all of our needs and other than slowly replacing the remaining HDDs with SSDs will probably handle all of our needs for the next 10 years. Or longer. It will be interesting to see what the failure mode is for the hardware because it will probably be the first piece of hardware I own that stays fully active and relevant until the blades actually physically fail.

I love the technology but I think there's only more pain to come for Intel.

-Matt

Comment This isn't a victory for Behring-Breivik. (Score 3, Insightful) 491

Someone once pointed out that hoping a rapist gets raped in prison isn't a victory for his victim(s), because it somehow gives him what he had coming to him, but it's actually a victory for rape and violence. I wish I could remember who said that, because they are right. The score doesn't go Rapist: 1 World: 1. It goes Rape: 2.

What this man did is unspeakable, and he absolutely deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. If he needs to be kept away from other prisoners as a safety issue, there are ways to do that without keeping him in solitary confinement, which has been shown conclusively to be profoundly cruel and harmful.

Putting him in solitary confinement, as a punitive measure, is not a victory for the good people in the world. It's a victory for inhumane treatment of human beings. This ruling is, in my opinion, very good and very strong for human rights, *precisely* because it was brought by such a despicable and horrible person. It affirms that all of us have basic human rights, even the absolute worst of us on this planet.

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