PhunkySchtuff writes: "OK, so we're all hearing the news that they've found the Higgs boson. What are some of the more practical implications that are likely to come out of this discovery? I realise it's hard to predict this stuff — who would have thought that shining a bright light on a rod of ruby crystal would have lead to digital music on CDs and being able to measure the distance to the moon to an accuracy of centimetres? If the Higgs boson is the particle that gives other particles mass, would our being able to manipulate the Higgs lead to being able to do things with mass such as we can do with electromagnetism? Will we be able to shield or block the Higgs from interacting with other particles, leading to a reduction in mass (and therefore weight?) Are there other things that this discovery will lead to in the short to medium term?"
PhunkySchtuff writes: "Dear Apple,
Please either do something with the Mac Pro range, or set it free. My proposal below will address not only this shortcoming but fix your problems with servers as well.
Yes, hear me out for a minute, I know this burned you really really badly last time in the early 90's when Apple products were outrageously more expensive than the industry average and the clone makers brought in low quality, cheap hardware and tarnished things, but please, please, please look at licensing Mac OS X to certified clone makers.
"But that's crazy talk" "Clones will be the death of the Apple experience" "Clones cheapen the experience" "Why would someone buy a Mac if a clone is cheaper?" "Why would Apple give up their famous margins on selling hardware?"
A clone program could not only be successful, but would restore a lot of faith in the brand from the high-end of the professional and enterprise market if there is one VERY IMPORTANT restriction on clones...
All Clones MUST HAVE A XEON PROCESSOR.
That immediately rules out all the bottom-feeding, white-box making clone makers who just want to make the cheapest computer and damn the quality. Xeons are freakin' expensive chips, and the hardware to support them isn't cheap either.
This would allow certified clone makers to make high-end machines that can dual-boot, yet not compete in Apple's core consumer markets which is dominated by portables. Try stuffing a Xeon in a laptop? No thanks, the only nuts I like dry-roasted are almonds.
Go and look at a high-end HP workstation, something like a current generation Z800 — it's a Mac Pro in all but it's ability to run OS X.
That would also solve the problem of a severe lack of enterprise-ready servers, that once again would not compete whatsoever with the Mac mini Server.
It would be a win all around — Apple could (almost) charge whatever they like for an OS X licence. This would not lead to any more hacintoshes than already exist — people making a cheap-arse hacintosh will not be spending the coin to use a Xeon, it's going to be on a cheaper consumer-level platform.
Professionals would have a machine that they could expand, would be updated on a regular basis with modern hardware specs and would not have to hassle the consumer-focussed Genius Bar for support on.
Please Apple, if you love it, set it free."
PhunkySchtuff writes: "I'm seeking the collective's recommendations on a laptop with a numeric keypad that doesn't suck.
For practicality reasons, an external USB keypad is less convenient than a built-in one. A keypad is required for entry of lots of numbers, and using the alpha keys with the Fn key to turn them into a keypad is not acceptable. Looking at the larger manufacturers, it seems that none of their business grade laptops (e.g. Lenovo's T-Series or similar quality levels) have numeric keypads. Looking at their laptops that do have keypads, invariably they are cheap, plastic and flimsy. Looking at Lenovo's offering with a Keypad, whilst it's a 15" screen, the vertical resolution is just 768 pixels, and the build quality of it leaves a lot to be desired.
I need to find something that is built to the quality of a "real" ThinkPad, or even a MacBook Pro, but has a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad and there doesn't seem to be anything like that on the market at the moment. This is a mystery to me as to why it would be the case as I'd imagine it's business users who need to use a keypad more than the average user, yet it is the consumer grade laptops that have keypads."
PhunkySchtuff writes: "As one of only three countries on Earth that hasn't converted to a metric system of units and measurements, there is a huge amount of resistance within the US to change the status quo. Whilst the cost of switching would be huge, there is also a massive hidden cost in not switching when dealing with the rest of the world (except for Liberia & Burma, the only other two countries that don't use the metric system)
With one of the largest organisations in the US, the military, using metric units extensively, why does the general public in the US still cling to their customary system of units?"
PhunkySchtuff writes: "Apple announced recently that they are killing the Xserve. In their Transition Guide, they mention the replacement options of the Mac Pro or the Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server as replacement options. Neither are anything like a direct replacement — the Mac Pro is considerably larger and uses more power (largely due to the more powerful graphics card as a standard configuration) and the Mac mini is a small and energy efficient workgroup server that can't handle anywhere near the same workload.
In the past few years, Apple have been making inroads into larger enterprise businesses, largely thanks to the success of the iPhone and the ever-growing range of software available (for instance, Autodesk have recently committed themselves to the Mac platform) and now there's no longer going to be a real enterprise server offering."
PhunkySchtuff writes: "I have been using SnapGear Firewall/VPN appliances from Secure Computing for many years now and have found them to be very good. They are linux based, are highly configurable yet have a straightforward and easy to use GUI and they play well with Linux and Macs.
As the link above points out, Secure Computing were purchased by McAfee a while back and as of July 2010, they will be discontinued. It's always very frustrating when something like this happens — small innovative company with a great product is purchased by a massive corporate, promises are made to continue their wonderful support and then most of their product lines end up End of Life'd while the one thing that the company was purchased for is rolled into another product line.
I'm putting it to the Slashdot crowd to recommend a suitable alternative and the requirements are: The product needs to be open, it needs to have good after-sales support. It needs to be easy to configure and this is very important as these units generally get configured once when they go in and then they often don't need to be touched for months or years and it's easy to forget the intricacies of a complex GUI. They need to have PPTP and IPSec VPN support for ad-hoc client connections as well as site to site connections, and once again this needs to be easy to configure."