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Comment 16 bits in 1979! (Score 2) 857

Proudly, my first was a TI-99/4A. And did I ever get every penny out of that thing, nursing it along until 1993 or so. Texas Instruments makes more chips (to this day?) than Frito-Lay. So of course their computer was something special. 16 bit TMS9900 CPU. Amazingly high quality parts and construction - literally cast aluminum around my 32k RAM expansion card. And they built-in owner loyalty by fostering and supporting users groups, even after they'd left the Home Computer market. TI knew how to sell to scientists and engineers; they clearly didn't know how to sell to the general public. And they kept the software model closed (any different from Apple today?). It was the very earliest days of the digital age; they failed in the market as much for social reasons as for design reasons. So, sadly, that machine becomes an evolutionary dead end. But what a machine. Look at TMS9900 Assembly Language.

Comment Re:There's nothing you can do with your own ISP (Score 1) 130

You can encrypt to your heart's content, but your ISP has access to every single packet that flows over your connection, including where and when, even if they don't have immediate access to its contents. So, I'll stand by my use of the word "literally", thanks!

The person replying to you, telling you that encryption nullifies the point you're attempting to make, is completely right. Not just vaguely right, completely right. You therefor are either trolling, extremely misinformed, or somehow connected to a govt push to dissuade people from encrypting.

Comment "underscores" (Score 0) 50

or simply hit the "Facebook Login" button. The convenience of the latter underscores the popularity of social authentication options.

Sure, the same way that putting on clothes underscores being warmer, and having sex underscores feeling good.

I don't think "underscore" means what you apparently think it means.

Comment Retail Hell, More Proof Cats Are Better Than Dogs! (Score 1) 249

There's a reason people that own one cat go crazy and have brain damage and end up owning more of those things.

The Toxoplasma Gondii requires cats to multiply, so it alters the behavior of its host rodents in order to steer them towards a cat's digestive system.

Now, humans and cats have lived together for millenia; it makes perfect sense that the Toxoplasma Gondii might also have steered us into giving their furry brothels a comfortable place in our homes and our beds... And for the cats, they have two species directly feeding them: Mice and Men. Perfect case of symbiotic evolution.

You'll never see Lassie do anything that smart.

Now, back to the parent post about working at PetSmart:

I've seen coworkers that were normal before become irritable and irrational after getting a cat.

Are you sure that's not just caused by working retail for long enough?

And then there was me, working at Home Depot, wearing the trademark Orange Apron. We had a cat in the store; it ate the mice that lived on the birdseed in the Seasonal Department. As I walked into the lunchroom, about 30 people eating lunch, big shift change time of day...

"Hey Lawrence! I hear you found the store cat!"

"Well, I found part of the store cat..."

Comment Re:Other way? (Score 1) 249

Does mental illness lead to owning a cat, though?

Being a crack dealer seems to lead to owning a pit bull, so why not?

Given the above, I'm proud to be a cat person. We must be nuts... why else would we put up with an egotistical, narcissistic, impatient, violent, snobby creature in our homes?

Better to have such a creature in my home than in the White House.

Comment Misty Water-Colored Memories... Slashdot Oldtimers (Score 1) 86

Great printer, those old Panasonics. Fast, clean, quiet, durable. Also loved the Epson MX-80 and the Okidata ML320.

I had a DEC LA-36 teletype (nb. not a TeleType) attached to my TI-99/4A back in the day... its 7 pin printhead lacked true descenders, so the print matched the text on the TI-99/4A's screen!

By the time I got to the Amiga 1000 and 500, I had a hand-me-down HP LaserJet I. What a tank. A Canon photocopier with HP's modifications, and doubled as a great ozone generator. The printer was connected to the Amiga by a 300 or 1200 baud RS-232 link. Annoyingly, I couldn't print anything from the BBSes while I was online - the Amiga's single serial port was needed for the modem. :)

Nowadays, there's a Unix mainframe in my right front pocket. And I can wirelessly print to a Samsung color laser printer that's 10x faster and 1/4 the weight. Don't even get me started on that Chromecast thing that's smaller than a videocassette and faster than a drive to Blockbuster.

But I do miss the quality of the old stuff. The old HP LaserJet just happened to be the very first (shared with the Apple LaserWriter) of its kind. Cost-reduction was not a goal; quality was. And it showed.

I miss HP.

Nice to meet another Slashdot old-timer...

Comment Writing style (Score 2) 108

It is certainly true that consumers, particularly low-income consumers, like getting free or subsidized data plans. There is no doubt about that. But when the subsidies are coming from the big tech companies, who can easily pay them, to buy competitive advantage over that nimble startup that is scaring them, well we know how that movie ends.

I really object to this person's writing style, which repeatedly seeks to put words in others' mouths rather than proposing facts and backing them up with cites as appropriate. "We all know" that that's the writing style of someone who may well be running a spin game rather than an information dissemination game. I want to be informed, not pushed into going along for the ride.

Comment Obviously (Score 4, Insightful) 171

And they obviously won't improve their chances of survival with cannibalism.

It's tempting to accept this statement at face value, but an instance of cannibalism involves the death of an individual, not the death of a species. Cannibalism is just another variant of natural selection, and it's fairly easy to construct a scenario where it in fact leads to better overall survival rates (e.g. only the sick are eaten, or the challenge of evading being eaten leads to the accelerated development of intelligence/swiftness/whatever). Whether it turns out that way in this case remains to be seen.

Comment too much detail (Score 1) 122

The idea is to limit the processing power that background tabs get.

Got it. Simple, succinct, perfect.

(1) Each WebView has a budget (in seconds) for running timers in background. (2) A timer task is only allowed to run when the budget is non-negative. (3) After a timer has executed, its run time is subtracted from the budget. (4) The budget regenerates with time (at rate of 0.01 seconds per second).

Of what interest is it to anybody that the pseudo-code for this is the above, vs some other slightly different variant of how to restrict allocated processing time? Users aren't going to care. And if developers try to somehow design around this level of detail, they'll break if the algorithm ever changes.

When I tell a friend I'll show up for dinner, I don't then explain that I'm going to do so by walking one foot at a time until I get to the dinner place, at which point I'll commence chewing and swallowing.

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