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Comment Re:Money first (Score 1) 144

Its damned near impossible to BSOD a Windows 7 system with a bad driver, it will just silently kill and restart the driver (as a system should) and make a little note in Action Center about it.

Is there any online documentation on this feature where the OS can silently kill and restart the driver? I can't find any references to that other than for "VPU Recover", which is supported as far back as Windows XP.

I have recently been configuring a webserver running Windows Server 2008 R2, which uses the same kernel, NT 6.1, as Windows 7. It frequently gives a BSOD with error code "STOP: 0xD1". The minidump suggests the problem is due to an interaction between the network card driver and the kernel network libraries. This problem occurs with two different network card adaptors (with different drivers). It would be an huge improvement if Windows would simply restart the drivers rather than BSOD.

Comment Re:I'm surprised so many people have widescreen (Score 1) 382

Better colour gamut, no flicker, always perfectly sharp, no distortion, etc...

The adjustable brightness of LCD displays is normally implemented using pulse width modulation that can cause visible flicker. This is apparently much more visible with LED backlights than with the CCFL backlights.

Flicker from LED backlights is typically much more visible than for CCFL backlights at the same duty cycle because the LED's are able to switch on and off much faster, and do not continue to "glow" after the power is cut off. This means that where the CCFL backlight showed rather smooth luminance variation, the LED version shows sharper transitions between on and off states. This is why more recently the subject of PWM has cropped up online and in reviews, since more and more displays are moving to W-LED backlighting units now.

@see Pulse Width Modulation

Comment chemical imbalances (Score 1) 542

From TFA:

The shift from "talk therapy" to drugs as the dominant mode of treatment coincides with the emergence over the past four decades of the theory that mental illness is caused primarily by chemical imbalances in the brain that can be corrected by specific drugs.

I don't understand this theory as it seems, to me, that "mental illness" and "chemical imbalances in the brain" are the same thing with no cause/effect relationship between them. It also seems that psychotherapy and drug therapy are attempts to treat the symptoms via the two respective faces of the same metaphorical coin.

Is there anything online that explains this cause/effect theory?

Comment Re:Password Encrypted? (Score 1) 140

Many login systems create random salt for EACH account, and store it with the hash.

This is one reason why unique salt for each account is preferable.

It's better to generate a new salt for each password; i.e., a new salt should be generated whenever a password is modified. That way it is pointless to generate rainbow tables for a chosen account.

Comment Re:Bad strategic moves by Oracle (Score 1) 149

Yeah. So XML is great, once I read the six thousand page spec. Why is this better than a binary format again?

I don't know that I'd suggest a business keep their data in ODF, either, but it's a hell of a lot better than OOXML as far as having actual migration paths and being reasonable for third-party software to read and manipulate. The last time I actually tried working with this stuff (just extracting stuff from MS Office and converting it to more-reasonable HTML), I tried parsing the OOXML, only to realize that it was suicide without a library, no matter how small the data I needed was.

I expect you're completely correct regarding migration and multiple implementations. I have to disagree regarding typical export/conversion routines.

A few years ago, I wrote an MS Office Open XML to XHTML converter. It ignored some of the original layout as it was just an initial step in converting Word documents to websites. Most of my time was spent on converting complex tables (multi-row headers; row & col spans) to semantically correct and fully accessible XHTML tables (thead, tbody, th, & td elements; id & headers attributes; etc).

The main reference I used was "Office Open XML Part 4 - Markup Language Reference.pdf" which is 5,220 pages. As I was only dealing with Word documents I only needed the material in the first two chapters (1. Part Overview; 2. WordprocessingML Reference Material), and that's 1,629 pages. Even then I didn't need much beyond 2.9 Numbering, so that's down to 816 pages.

So, while the specification totals around 6,000 pages, for many business applications far fewer pages will be applicable.

Comment Re:This is the best thing they can do. (Score 1) 438

The vast majority of people have no NEED to use IE6, and the vast majority of web developers have no need to support IE6. In fact, I's say there is ZERO requirement for ANY web developer to EVER support IE6 at this point. Anyone who says otherwise is making excuses or lying.

That's nice, but back in the real world many of my client's clients* use IE6. I'm currently enhancing their web-based application and dropping IE6 support is not an option.

* Including one particularly large client.

(did I just feed a troll?)

Comment DRM = Lost sales (Score 1) 642

I purchased GTA3, Vice City and San Andreas and played them all to completion, so I was really looking forwards to GTA IV. Problem is that I don't have a home Internet connection*. Now, over two years later, I haven't brought or played it. Every now and then I take a look online for cracks, but I haven't found any that will allow installation and play without an Internet connection.

I had also purchased and enjoyed Half Life and was looking forwards to Half-Life 2. Over six year later, because of DRM, I have not brought or played it.

I hope that one day these games will be re-released without the DRM. The publishers really should do this as anyone who wants to pirate them will have already done so by now.

* I work long hours, have a fast Internet connection at work; and can transfer files as needed. A home Internet connection would cost me about 300GBP (500USD) for the first year, which is too much just to activate a few computer games.

Comment Re:LNK files (Score 1) 214

Most of Microsoft's major advances have been business/enterprise targeted. Exchange+Outlook, as a fully-integrated groupware solution, had no serious competition for a long time. The degree and ease of control that Group Policy gives domain controllers is still a major reason that companies choose Windows.

The major competitor is Lotus Notes/Domino. Exchange was first available about five years after Notes and seems to have been created in response to it. This is hardly an example of a major advance by Microsoft.

Comment Re:Upgraded? (Score 1) 401

You can't buy XP after the first Service Pack for Windows 7 comes out. No new XP licenses period for anyone. Need a new staff member, welcome to a mixed environment.

Microsoft have changed that policy:

To support our customers' "unprecedented move" to migrate their PC environment to Windows 7, we have decided to extend downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional beyond the previously planned end date at Windows 7 SP1. This will help maintain consistency for downgrade rights throughout the Windows 7 lifecycle. As a result, the OEM versions of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate will continue to include downgrade rights to the similar versions of Windows Vista or Windows XP Professional. Going forward, businesses can continue to purchase new PCs and utilize end user downgrade rights to Windows XP or Windows Vista until they are ready to use Windows 7. Enabling such rights throughout the Windows 7 lifecycle will make it easier for customers as they plan deployments to Windows 7.


How Game Gimmicks Break Immersion 228

The Moving Pixels blog has brief discussion of how gimmicky game mechanics often break a player's sense of immersion, making it painfully obvious that he's simply jumping through carefully planned hoops set up by the developers. The author takes an example from Singularity, which has a weapon that can time-shift objects between a pristine, functional state and a broken, decayed state. Quoting: "The core issue with this time control device is that it's just not grand and sweeping enough. It doesn't feel like it's part of a world gone mad. Instead it's just a gameplay tool. You can only use it on certain things in certain places. You can 'un-decay' this chalkboard but not that desk. You can dissolve that piece of cover but not most of the walls in the game. The ultimate failure of such cheap tricks is that they make the game world less immersive rather than more compelling. The world gets divided into those few things that I can time shift, that different set of things I can levitate, and that majority of things that I can't interact with at all. ... I'm painfully aware that all that I'm really doing is pushing the right button at the right place and time. Sure, that's what many games are when you get down to it, but part of the artistry of game design comes from trying to hide this fact."

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