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Comment Re:Long overdue (Score 4, Insightful) 261

Even in the age of physical copies, pre-order made little sense. If a product is successful, you make more of that product to sell. If your supply chain can't keep up with demand, you build more production capacity to capture that demand before a competitor does.

In the digital age, consumers have zero need to pre-order. There is no scarcity. If anything, publishers should thank their lucky stars that we still pay retail prices for a file that costs less than a penny to deliver, instead of blowing roughly half the sticker price on packaging, distribution, mark-up and overstock.

Pre-orders are basically rewarding big publishers for harassing us with obnoxious marketing campaigns.

Comment Re:To what purpose? (Score 1) 157

This is my take-away as well. I've had 10GbE for 3+ years in my lab and at the datacenter, but the prices for add-in NICs and switches have not budged at all since launch. I can get a motherboard with two 10GbE ports built-in for roughly the same as just a dual-port PCIe NIC, so the numbers just don't make sense.

Adding 2.5G and 5G to the mix will only result in more market segregation, to keep the cheap consumer/enthusiast parts from bringing enterprise costs down.

Comment Re:Cat 6 cable finally has a use (Score 1) 157

Nevermind that a bunch of people have been running 10GBase-T over Cat5e for relatively short distances, myself included. There's a 50-foot run going from my workstation to the rack, running right by an electrical panel and a pile of assorted wireless transmitters. I have no problems saturating the pipe. For the 3-to-7 foot lengths within the rack, I'm using ultra-cheap Cat5e patches from China. Again, zero speed or latency issues.

I would not be at all surprised to see 10GbE run effortlessly over typical office runs of Cat5e, even if it dips to half its theoretical capacity it's still a bargain. This new standard seems quite redundant, and the vicious cynic in me suspects this was done to protect the nascent 10GbE switch market from competition. Now they can target 2.5G as the cheap option, charge a premium for 5G "enthusiasts", and keep 10G firmly pegged above $100 per port.

Comment Re:EEE (Score 1) 412

it's so easy to break a compiler with an OS upgrade

That's funny, I used Borland and other 3rd party compilers for almost my entire career, and never encountered any such breakage. Heck I have code from 20 years ago that somehow runs perfectly fine in W10. The only things I've had to fix from that era, were things I wasn't supposed to be doing in the first place, like self-modifying code and other low-level hacks that don't fly in a post-80486 world. MS jumps through hoops to retain backward compatibility because the entire value of their platform is in the massive wealth of software written for it.

punitive pricing agreements that dropped the margins below any possibility of profit if you tried selling a naked system

What ?! I've sold "naked" systems since the 90's and somehow managed to turn a profit. MS doesn't make it unprofitable. All they did was give ridiculously cheap licenses to the big guys, while the rest of us indies have to pay the regular "OEM" pricing which is frankly not much cheaper than full retail.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike Microsoft. The ones you've mentioned have very little basis in reality. The only people who can break Steam are Valve with their potato-quality code. Microsoft and its partners do not want to piss off the hordes of PC gamers, because the day we abandon Windows will be the day Linux finally gets decent graphics drivers for Steam Boxes, and that day will mark the beginning of the end for Windows' market dominance.

Comment Contrasting anecdote (Score 4, Interesting) 209

I'm an independent white-box NAS guy, and with the exception of the truly awful 1.5TB Seagate drives from 2008-2009 or so, I have not had any significant problems with them. I've got a few thousand 3 to 8 TB drives deployed with my clients, most of them cheap consumer drives (not even the "NAS" editions), and the annual failure rate is roughly 2% across all brands. This has been consistent for many years and I factor these stats into my costs and warranty projections. I have

The thing that bothers me about Backblaze, and the reason why I have a very hard time taking their results seriously, is the way they design their pods. They take a custom fabbed chassis, then fill it with the most ghetto components known to man: SATA port multipliers, ultra-low-end HBAs, dual "gamer" power supplies, very substandard cooling, and until recently they used super sketchy desktop boards. It's only last year that they finally changed the board for a Supermicro, primarily to get 10GbE very cheaply. For that same money, you can buy a ready-made 60-bay Supermicro chassis with redundant power and SAS - and a warranty. Hell, I bet SM would deliver directly to Backblaze's doorstep *and* give them a friendly discount.

Anyway... epic digression aside, when people ask me which brand is better, I tell them to buy whichever has the best warranty. A hard drive *will* die, the question is when, so the only logical course of action is to plan around its inevitable demise by keeping backups and redundancies, and learning the ins and outs of the RMA process.

Comment Re: tl;dr (Score 1) 209

The people put on phone support are at the absolute bottom of the hierarchy. They are the least knowledgeable about your problem, and the least empowered to do anything about. Oh, and they also hate you.

Well, kind of. They probably don't hate "you", but they sure as shit hate their job, their managers, the company policies, the guy whose sole purpose is to wag his finger if you log in two seconds late. There is plenty to hate in a call centre, but for the most part the customers are cool enough.

I can confirm that most are totally oblivious to whatever product they're supporting. It's all knowledge bases, wikis and checklists, and man are they ever confusing and poorly curated. Often times agents would be so wound up trying to read all that garbage that they'd completely miss some crucial bit of information shared by the customer, going down some rabbit hole, troubleshooting the wrong issue and getting all tangled up in the process.

During my brief stint at $BIGPCCORP's call centre, out of about 200 agents on our floor, we had three hardware wizards, maybe five coders, and the rest were completely unskilled, except for a week's training on the company's previous gen products. They really hired any warm body willing to work shit hours for shit pay, and that reflected in the performance metrics. Us three hardware wonks jockeyed for the top three spots, followed by most of the coders, and then a huuuuuuge gap in call times for everyone else (I'm talking 30:1 between top and median agents).

So really, for clients calling in, they had a 1.5% chance of getting a rockstar techie, a 2.5% chance for a really decent techie, and a 96% chance of wasting the next two hours of their life over something as simple as a dead hard drive. The irony ? They took the best people off the phones to put us in different, non-customer-facing roles. I left shortly after that move.

Comment Probably migrating due to lack of available coders (Score 1) 217

Look, I don't like COBOL as a language, never have. I dislike it almost as much as I do Python (for diametrically opposite reasons). Thing is, it has worked for a very long time, and governments around the globe are still using it to this day. I know up here in "where you're moving when Trump wins" Canada, we have a lot of gov't projects to migrate off of old COBOL systems. It's not because the old system is broken: it ain't. It's because the people who can maintain such systems are dying of old age.

It's not a simple matter of watching a Youtube video made by a 12 year old. The language itself is quite simple, it's the fifty years of legacy code that make it a nightmare to find new blood, and the few who can pull it off get to charge whatever they want. On paper, this becomes a steep liability, which is why departments are making the largely financial decision to migrate.

Problem is, governments are legendary at hiring the most incompetent, 7000% over budget, milk-the-cash-cow-dry kind of contractors. Whether it's due to corruption or ineptitude, it's true up here in Apologyland. It's true down there in Gunfreakland. It's probably true across the pond in Thataintfoodland.

Don't blame COBOL, that old dog has done us well for most of our lifetimes. Blame these idiots who can't manage their contractors, and the contractors who can't manage their idiots.

Comment Re: darwinian pressure (Score 1) 361

You are absolutely correct on all counts, hairyfeet. I don't vape, but I have learned more than I ever cared about vaping, after challenging my wife on all the technical aspects and the pseudo-sciencey specs she was parroting from the manufacturers.

While I find it rather absurd that anyone would buy a device that is little more than a shiny chassis around a shorted battery (the "mech mod"), well these things do exist and they often attract a very special kind of idiot who will absolutely cause it to blow up in their face. To me, that is Darwinism at work, and perhaps a few disfigured imbeciles will scare some sense into the rest.

It reminds me of this kid I drove when I was a cab driver, 18-19 years old. He had flipped his nitro-boosted Honda while illegally racing on a main street, but somehow dodged jail time. The crushed door frame sliced his arm lengthwise, dude looked like something out of a horror movie, skin grafts and inch-wide scars all over. So what does he do ? He builds another nitro ricer and crashes it, hardly a year after his first accident. Luckily (for society), that killed him outright.

TL;DR, idiots do idiot things, because they're idiots. They always have, and always will. Vaping is no exception.

Comment Re:Umm no. (Score 1) 257

OEMs can heavily customize Android on their devices

Okay, so why can't they release those customizations as packages that install on top of the standard Android OS ? Why can't Google put out an official "blessed" kernel and base system, and then the OEMs load their themes, custom launchers or whatever else they think defines their brand ? That blasted Samsung browser is an app like any other.

It's Linux and Java: two things that are extremely modular by design. Two things that already excel at combining executable code from dozens if not hundreds of different people, and adapting to wildly divergent environments. I develop friggin' appliances for a living so I'm not about to buy into the idea that a company a million times larger than mine can't figure out how to create a DEB or RPM or JAR or whatever the heck. Nevermind that it frees up the resources they're currently spending on rebuilding and revalidating the core OS with each update.

Comment Translation (Score 1) 343

Reader who knows nothing about a thing proposes a contrived and oversimplified way to "improve" said thing, which didn't need improving in the first place.

Reader then questions why he's not the president of the universe with all his great ideas.

Dude... I feel you. I too was once 13 years old. It gets better.

Comment What's the hold up ? (Score 1) 57

It's been a little while since I wrote mobile apps, but I seem to recall camera functions being freakin' easy to use. What are they "building" exactly ? These camera apps are the kind of thing a mobile noob can pump out in a day or two (speaking from experience). I mean, both iOS and Android APIs will happily encode to an MP4 file of your chosen quality, which you then read and upload wherever. Live streaming is less obvious, but well researched and documented... a simple copy-paste-tweak-run affair.

Or maybe the engineers are waiting for the Kardashian seal of approval :P

Comment Re:Pi was terrible. (Score 1) 117

Bah. I like it for many of the same reasons you guys hate it. It absolutely is weird indie no-budget art-house hoopla, and that's what I find refreshing about it. It's like someone deconstructed the video feed from my own waking nightmares. I mean, I kind of related with the character. Obsessing over patterns, crazies pestering me with numerology nonsense, migraine-triggered freakouts and irrational behaviour... pretty much how my twenties played out.

Beyond that, the technical merits of the production are pretty killer. I really liked the deliberate (ab)use of framing, lighting and music/noise to highlight the lead character's mental states Migraines for me are often a hallucinatory affair, and I thought they did a great job of recreating that distressing synesthesia.

But hey, to each their own. Lots of people paid money to see Transformers, and I think those were giant nonsensical turds...

Comment Boring generation (Score 1) 314

This console generation just isn't exciting. The hardware was laughably underpowered before it even shipped, with many games rendering at some oddball resolution and later upscaled to 1080p, just to maintain acceptable performance. For those less technically inclined, the rising game prices and egregious DLC / season passes is too much to swallow. I'm financially quite comfortable, and even I balk at new game prices because the value just isn't there. AAA titles are released full of bugs and it's a coin-toss as to whether they will be properly patched. Just recently, some baseball game was launched in an unplayable state, allegedly due to underpowered/unstable servers. I think it took them 3 weeks to finally get it working.

Customers will only accept mediocrity for so long, and I think they're starting to snub these console makers and game publishers who repeatedly treat the customer like a fool.

Comment Re:The future looks bright! (Score 1) 156

I think the 6500 would be more than acceptable. I got very good promo pricing on the 7500 during the holidays, otherwise I would have gone with the 6500 or 6700. I suppose you could buy from a store with a lenient return/satisfaction policy if you need the peace of mind. I based my decision on the detailed reviews from RTings.com. Here's their analysis of the 6500:


The lack of DisplayPort is no longer an issue, as there is finally have a true DP->HDMI 2.0 adapter (Club3D CAC-1070). Amazon has it for $30, though it is out of stock at the moment - it was released just over a month ago so demand is still quite high, but it will do 4K @ 60hz unlike the HDMI 1.4 adapters which only do 30hz.

You will probably want some kind of desktop management tool. On Windows I just write little AutoHotKey scripts that trap Win+arrow and Win+numpad keys, basically extending / overriding Aero Snap. There are lots of utilities available, free and commercial, but I preferred to work with what I already know.

Comment Re:The future looks bright! (Score 2) 156

Just a few months ago, I replaced my multiple monitors with a 55" Samsung JU7500 TV. Apparently all the 2015 Samsung TVs can do proper 60hz 4K over HDMI 2.0. I picked this particular model for its fast response time: 34ms @ 4K (PC mode) and 21ms @ 1080p (game mode). Color accuracy is obviously not 100% as this is a PVA panel, but the curved screen helps with uniformity, and a little calibration goes a long way. I went SLI 980, mostly to see how Crysis 3 would look (amazeballs). You really don't need to run everything at full res, as the upscaling is very good on this TV, so a single 970/980 would be fine for most people, but I'm a "go big or go home" kind of guy.

The way I see it, this cost me roughly the same as two mid-range 32" monitors. No bezels in the way, no fussy NVidia Surround to worry about, and it doubles as a pretty respectable TV. The one downside for me is that I have to turn it on and off with the remote - it doesn't sleep and wake like a proper PC monitor, though a $45 CEC injector would solve that. Otherwise, I'm overwhelmingly happy with this setup in both work and play.

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