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Comment iGadgets to the rescue (Score 1) 230

iOS 9.3 or so and on suitably new hardware (iPhone 6 or newer, equivalent on the rest of the zoo) came with Night Mode that filters out blue wavelength emmision on the screen within the specified nightly interval. Start time, end time and the amount of filtering adjustable.

Of course, that did not prevent scads of iGadget users perennially on autopilot to start moaning & bitching about how their fancy-shmancy screens had gone yellow, the night after they had willy-nilly upgraded their iOS version without READING THE MANUAL FIRST.

Comment Start small, learn to optimize (Score 1) 515

An HP-25c in high school. The need to make the most with 50 instructions really made you code carefully. Then off to Engineering in college, where Fortran was inevitable. Short while later, Pascal came along, in an IBM 370 mainframe, of all places, till the Apple IIs came out. Always had the illusion of learning VM/370 assembly language, never got around to it, but did go to 6502, 6800 and 68000. Thanks to Engineering, managed to avoid Cobol like the plague. Later years would bring Scheme, Prolog, Smalltalk and even a dabbling in Ada. Not to mention Rexx and its inheritors, the scripting languages of the Bourne, C, Korn and now BASH shells. Which led to C and the rest of that menagerie. The Swift-y bird is winking at me...

Comment MS is the blame (Score 2) 568

In the industrial world where liability exists and is rigorously enforced, engineers who build software and hardware systems are respectable individuals with strict and comprehensive training, theoretical and practical, very worthy of the title and our gratitude in creating and advancing much of the infrastructure that makes our life easier (and in some cases, possible). A former student of mine works in GE's aircraft engine division (which makes the Dreamliner's engines, amongst others): if the effort he puts out guaranteeing that the software that makes such an engine run achieves a better than 99.999% reliability can't be called advanced engineering, then nothing can or ever will.

Microsoft's infamous greediness in the consumer marketplace, OTOH, led the way many years ago to a cheapening in the public perception in what we are entitled to expect from something we pay for. Doesn't do what you wanted it to, or fails when least expected? Well, did you not read the EULA?? It says that's a what it is and you accept it as such. And if you don't like it, well... the software isn't even yours. We just let you use it for a fee, but we decide who can or cannot play with our ball. And since all thisway of doing business has never been challenged in court and concluding with a jurisprudence-establishing jury verdict (all such cases 99.99% of the time end in settlements with no acceptance of guilt or responsibility), things will not change.

Comment And then there's fracking (Score 1) 377

If water demand weren't bad enough, the profitable quest to squeeze the last possible drop of oil/gas from the ground via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) wrecks the whole underground structure that configure the acquifer, not to mention making it totally unfit to drink or use due to contamination. So now the natural underground currents that replentished the groundwater supplies are gone and whatever is left is ruined. Bravo for Capitalism, hope that cheap gas you got in return tastes good, cause it's the only liquid you're gonna get.

Comment Mad Fish Disease? (Score 3, Insightful) 386

Ok, first we had Mad Cow Disease, which proves fatal to humans if you get it. For those too young to remember, it was caused by "enriching" cow feed with ground up sheep offal in order to recicle the waste, increase the protein content of the feed and increase the profit to the farmer. This caused the bugs to get into the cows brains and turn them to mush. Called Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in the cow flavor, Kreutzfeld-Jakobs syndrome in human flavor, basically turns your brains into a bloody sponge full of holes, then you die inevitably, be it cow or human.

Wait for the upcoming Mad Fish Scare. Just remember every time your MacFish stick or burger tastes like shit.

Comment Why water? (Score 3, Informative) 49

Why is it that USA space tech prefers water splashdowns instead of dry land like the Russians and Chinese?

"Softer landings" doesn't quite cut it as a reason, for at the speed of the impact, water is just as hard as terra firma. Then there's the risk of crew drowning and/or craft loss thru sinking. That doesn't occur in dry land.

Comment For how long? (Score 3, Interesting) 405

An item yet unmentioned at the time I post this, is SSD lifetime. The are finite, you know, and probably a lot more finite than a well-protected HDD. The manufacturer states the number of write operations the storage cells can take on average before going kaput, and its up to the controller & OS to "age" them all equally to ensure maximum longevity (thanks, TRIM). This and speed are the main determinants of the cost of the devices and the differentiator between user and server-grade SSDs.

Nowadays with shady outfits jumping onto the SSD bandwagon, we'll see really crappy devices made from rejected storage chips hitting the markets, which will fail prematurely and give the technology a bad rep.

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