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Comment Re: What could possibly go wrong (Score 1) 430

Oh... I forgot to mention... the delay could actually caused by a capacitor, the controlled time it takes to charge being determined by the value of a resistor in series with it. There are any number of resistor-capacitor combinations that you could use to achieve a three second delay, and I would expect that it might vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, or be determined by product availability. Once the capacitor has a sufficient charge, it exceeds the ttl threshold of a "high" signal. which is then relayed through a pair of transistors with a secondary RC network that actually turn the power supply off. I've built one of these in my electronics class that I took in university in the 1990's, and although the one that I built was not specifically for PC's, there's no reason that PC's would use something any different. It's cheap, easy, and has virtually zero possibility of failure.

Comment Re:Simplicity can only go so far (Score 2) 430

If this rumor is true, it is one of the few legitimately infuriating things Apple will have done with their products.

(Raised eyebrow)


I'm not sure if you're trying to be deliberately ironic or what....

I can't recall the last time Apple made a change that actually turned out to be a good one. They've probably done it at some points in the past, but I can't think of any offhand.

Comment Re:They weren't late, they just completely blew it (Score 1) 208

So Microsoft wasn't late to the market. They were right there at the beginning of the smartphone market and had ample opportunity to dominate it. They just blew it. I suspect someone high up in their management chain, maybe even Gates himself, didn't believe this phone-PDA convergence was going to happen.

Very much agree. Microsoft's Vision - from Gates and through Ballmer - was Windows Desktop on everything. They executed their vision very well. It's just that it wasn't what their customers wanted and they were pig headed enough that they refused (still refuse?) to change to something that customers actually wanted.

Comment Re:No you don't (Score 1) 208

GPS navigators

Windows actually. My last Tomtom crashed spectacularly to a CE desktop. Admittedly that was a while ago.

As pointed out, TomTom is a Linux-based GPS; AFAIK they have only ever delivered Linux-based devices. So you're probably confusing your devices, or you had a really really old TomTom that is nothing like their products over the last 10+ years, but I highly doubt that. (FWIW, TomTom made the news back in the early 2000's b/c MS sued them over FAT FS patents since they used Linux and a FAT/vFAT FS.)


Mostly just a bit of custom code, unless you count that one camera Samsung made that runs Android, but then you should also count that camera with a Gigapixel sensor that runs full blow Windows 7 on it.

routers, set top boxes

Yep and yep.


Errr nope.

wrist watches

Errr what?

Look there's a lot of things in Linux, but don't pretend it's on every device in the house. There's an awful lot of custom code out there and for many of the above if they are running on Linux it's typically the type of device you end up throwing away because it's slow and clunky to use (though no where near as slow as it would be running on Windows, and no prizes for guessing why I don't use that old Tomtom anymore)

Linux actually runs on a lot of stuff you wouldn't even imagine it runs on - and the devices are not slow. The majority of set-top boxes now run Linux; there's a lot of "smart" devices (refrigerators, microwaves, etc) that run Linux. Many of these same devices also use Qt - which has an extremely presence in the embedded world (go figure).

Now, while those devices may run Linux they don't necessarily run it in the same way you think. They might run a minimal (f.e busybox) or custom user land that may not resemble anything you would think of as Linux.

Comment Escape (Score 1) 430

Escape makes for a terrible Escape key. I encourage everyone to map their Caps Lock key to Escape, especially if you're a vim user.

For Windows, I installed AutoHotKeys to do the mapping. For Mac, the capability is built in. Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Modifier Keys -> Caps Lock to Escape. Linux kind of depends on your window manager. I assume you're smart enough to figure it out.

Comment Re:First Post (Score 1) 208

More to the point, Microsoft never sticks to a product line long enough to warrant investment in it.


Microsoft had the leading smartphone OS before it was called a smartphone (remember PocketPC's ?), before RIM's blackberry became the de-facto business device.

False. PocketPC was a desktop clone for small device form factors that sucked so bad it was hilarious. Sure if you wanted Win95/NT4 on a phone it'd have been great...but then, you had to use a stylus to do anything as that was your mouse, and it required a full keyboard. Could it be considered a Smart Phone? Yes, but it absolutely sucked and never really had a very big market share - no where near majority by any means.

Palm and then RIM won b/c they actually did stuff the user cared about in easy to use manners.

Google set their eyes specifically on overtaking RIM and Apple came up and offered something compelling that wasn't a stuffy old blackberry clone.

Yes, Google and Apple aimed at displacing RIM b/c RIM was the de facto standard for anything more than a basic cell phone. If you wanted email, you got a Blackberry. RIM would probably still be a leader in the market if they hadn't screwed up with a highly centralized network design and had a 1 week network outage - which led to a lot of execs getting iPhones and demanding that their IT departments integrate the iPhone so they could use it; both Apple and Google exploited that, though Apple was the clear winner having a superior and flashier product that the Exec's loved.

The end result is that Apple is the Market Leader for the Smartphone, if you're not doing it Apple's way, you are doing it wrong. Google recognized that and changed Android from knocking off Blackberry to knocking off iOS, Nokia meanwhile kept on trucking out phones that appealed to people who didn't care about smartphones. Microsoft's killed it's own market share in order to push Windows Phone 7, then 8, and now 10. Each time halving their market share. So they went from 11% in 2001 to 0.7%.

Microsoft screwed up and lost it's foothold in the mobile scene. Had they never dumped the PocketPC, they might be market leaders today.

Well, if Microsoft hadn't abandoned PocketPC (aka Windows Mobile) then yes they'd probably have a bigger market share, but it'd still be a pittance compared to Apple and Google. As I said, PocketPC was basically the Windows Desktop in a small form factor - it would not be able to compete with Android or iOS. It also didn't have updates of any kind - builds were done by hardware vendors (not Microsoft) and there was no AppStore kind of thing for it. What you got when the device shipped is what it had when you retired it.

But that was always the Microsoft motive operandi - everything was focused around the Windows Desktop Environment or was an extension of it. For mobile, they put out PocketPC/WindowsMobile to exand Windows Desktop to mobile/small form factors; they put out Windows Server to push Windows Desktop into the Server Room; then extended Windows Desktop into the XBox to capture game consoles; they put out Windows 10 IoT to capture things like RasperryPi's (accessible and programmable only via Visual Studios, no direct user-interface).

No, Microsoft has not really learned the lesson of the failed Windows Phone experiment - that they won't ever hold the entire market, that people don't want Windows on everything. They're done a bit better with Azure and responding with LInux capabilities on it - but it still runs on top of Windows and all the overhead that incurs.

Comment Re:You missed the PC, too (Score 1) 208

I still haven't completely given up hope, though, that this will change one day.

Unfortunately, I have.

We'll talk exclusively about desktop apps, and ignore web-based applications and mobile apps for the moment.

Who are some of the big players in the desktop software market?
Adobe, Autodesk, Intuit, Sage, and Nuance are all in the list of top-100 software companies by revenue, admittedly a list heavily skewed toward the enterprise market - SAP and VMWare are clearly outside the scope of this exercise.

Most of these companies' flagship applications (Photoshop, AutoCAD, Quickbooks, ACT, NaturallySpeaking) are cross-compatible with MacOS/OSX, so to be honest, Apple is a more viable path than ever before...once one gets past the sticker shock of not only buying the hardware, but re-buying the software. The real cross-platform challenge is all the niche applications, everything from software that runs law firms and software that runs intelligent lighting arrays to software that runs dental offices to the knockoffs of industry standards.

However, none of those applications run on Linux. Look, I like Linux on the desktop. I too would love nothing more than for commercial software vendors to consider Linux a viable platform for development. Game developers have started to do so, which is a great start...but for commercial software houses, there's the classic chicken-and-egg problem. Who wants to wipe a computer that ships with Windows in order to install Linux when their line-of-business applications won't support it? What software vendor is going to take the plunge on making something like that happen, knowing it's a gamble that may well not pay off? Plenty of Slashdotters have made Linux their primary, and I am glad that they have, but there are very few lawyers here, and even fewer dentists.

The only thing that I think will push software vendors to make this happen is for Microsoft to fully depreciate the Win32 API and push for Modern-Only apps on the platform. Nadella may not always make the decisions I agree with, but I can't possibly believe he would be stupid enough to push *that* button. If he does, he creates a vacuum that will suddenly be viable for desktop Linux to fill.

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A language that doesn't have everything is actually easier to program in than some that do. -- Dennis M. Ritchie