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Comment Re:Main application? (Score 1) 77

I'm not quite sure why the iRiver IHP-120/140s didn't do FLAC out of the box. They supported some other specialty goodies(line level and optical in and out) that required more hardware and are probably even more esoteric; and they had ogg vorbis support, so it's not like they were MP3 only or wedded to whatever Microsoft was pushing at the time(the 300 series, though, leaned dangerously in that direction).

Luckily rockbox support is quite good on those models, which takes most of the pain away. LCD isn't good enough to do Doom justice, however.

Comment Re:Translation (Score 4, Informative) 30

If memory serves, the original logic behind the existence of this thing was dissatisfaction with Twitter jerking around 3rd party client developers in order to ensure that their freeloading peasants were exposed to enough advertising and had suitably limited control over layout, presentation, etc.

This service was going to be the one where developers came first and you were the customer, not the product. As far as I know that part of the vision was delivered; it just turns out that demand for "Like twitter, except basically empty" isn't all that robust, no matter how nice the service is.

Comment Re:Touch bar is a good idea (Score 1) 228

I don't disagree that Apple makes good hardware; my point was that (presumably because they care more about iDevices on the low end; and just don't care on the high end; and because, if only because MS and Intel have been cluebatting them as hard as they can for several years, PC OEMs have stepped up their game a little bit) Apple's offerings have gotten comparatively less exciting. They are still very good, unless you are one of the customers they decided they don't care about anymore; but the difference is not as dramatic as it once was.

Back in the bad old days, getting a genuinely thin and light PC laptop was downright hard. Sony and Fujitsu had some slightly eccentric offerings for moderately alarming amounts of money, some of the X-series Thinkpads were pretty good; but ibooks and powerbooks were often actually cheaper once you ignored the janky plastic crap and barely portable stuff in the bargain bin. That situation eased a bit once Intel dropped the pitiful farce that "Pentium 4M" was actually a mobile CPU and accepted that Pentium M parts were going to have to be available across the board, not just as a high end price-gouge product; but even once suitably low power CPUs were available, atrocious screens, shit build quality, and assorted other sins remained the rule.

On the desktop side, the minis were actually pretty aggressive(you could usually 'beat' them with some mini-tower eMachine that managed to be noisier despite having 10-20 times the volume to put a cooling system in; but that wasn't very impressive); The iMacs compared less well in a straight spec-fight; but good all-in-ones were practically nonexistent elsewhere; and the workstation hardware tended to get gimped GPUs; but was otherwise a pretty solid competitor among its peers.

All of this just isn't as true anymore. You can't get a screen that isn't something of an embarrassment for less than ~$1400(there is the macbook air; but 1440x900, in 2017, for $1000?); and once you move north of a thousand bucks; PC laptops suck far less than they used to. The macbook pros are nice; but more 'nice' than 'pro'. iMacs are still pretty good as AIO options; but the less said about the 'Mac Pro' the better.

I have no interest in arguing that what Apple is doing is bad business, they certainly make enough money on it; but it is pretty hard to be surprised that it isn't doing OSX's market share any favors.

Comment Re:Not a huge surprise... (Score 3, Insightful) 228

PC laptop screens went through some dark, dark times. The cheap crap still has lousy screens; but there was some time where it was hard to find anything decent, at any price(especially after the harrowing of the 4:3 panels and the massacre of what few 19:10s existed). At least now you can get decent panels again, if you stay out of the bargain basement.

Comment Not a huge surprise... (Score 5, Interesting) 228

While they continue to pull defeat from the jaws of victory with baffling regularity(eg. needlessly atrocious touchpads for no obvious reason); it's amazing how much less-bad your average PC laptop is today, when compared to the race-to-the-bottom and "Yeah, it's a 15in low-res screen and 2 inches thick" era. Models that can go directly head-to-head with Apple's finest are rarer; but you can often save enough money, vs. the really classy Apple gear, that a few minor sins can be overlooked. Combine that with Apple's more or less total neglect of anything desktop/workstation, which is a boring segment but moves a lot of hardware; and the fair success of Chromebooks as practically-disposable cheap 'n portable options; and you have a few reasons why OSX marketshare might not be doing as well outside of the truly devoted.

Back in the day, an ibook/macbook was both good and actually one of the cheaper options if you needed something small and light; mac minis stacked up reasonably favorably against all but the most atrocious cheapy towers; and Mac Pros were pretty respectably priced workstation offerings. I remember, back when they were still doing the intel-based 'cheese grater' case Pros; we were a Dell shop but when we priced out the Pros vs. equivalent Precisions our Dell rep turned a slightly unhealthy color and had to cut us a deal to make it worth going with those rather than just bootcamping the macs. That...isn't exactly...how the world works anymore.

Comment Re:Good! (Score 1) 202

I certainly wouldn't bet against that; I just don't think that they need to kill cmd.exe to do it.

It's just shell, and not even a terribly good one; and the shell is only as powerful as the programs and commands you can use it to invoke. Going pure GUI tends to involve some loss of control/dumbing down, just because you can't realistically cram everything a CLI can do into a GUI that any sane person would want to look at; but if the OS vendor doesn't want you to do something, making it impossible via CLI isn't a particularly different problem than making it impossible via GUI.

Comment Re: Surprising. (Score 3, Insightful) 86

No, Nintendo. Their(crude by modern standards; but quite clear in intention) CIC/10NES lockout chips were in full production well before Sony even had a console in the race; and back when 'Microsoft' meant 'MS-DOS 2.0'; and they have been enthusiastically litigating against vendors and distributors of flash carts and assorted unauthorized accessories for ages.

Sony and Microsoft are also control freaks; and quite possibly better at it than Nintendo(they've made mistakes of their own, like the hilarious PS3 LV0 key leak; or the original Xbox's naive assumption that fast busses were enough to keep low end adversaries at bay even though FPGAs exist); but Nintendo has been at least attempting to keep things locked up nice and tight since before Sony and MS had even entered the market.

Comment Surprising. (Score 4, Insightful) 86

It looks like Nintendo did their own, slightly quirky, thing in terms of how the ROMs are stored; but the procedure otherwise uses the same tools you use to manipulate Allwinner SoCs over USB. Since this console is just a cut-down Allwinner board, that isn't a surprise; but (as we know from dealing with cellphones and some tablets from the more obnoxious vendors) the ability to lock the bootloader so that it flatly refuses to do anything with an unsigned payload is a pretty standard feature. Some vendors don't turn it on; or allow it to be turned off; but the hardware is generally capable of it.

Given Nintendo's historical opposition to basically anything they don't explicitly allow happening on their consoles, it seems like a real surprise that this one cheerfully accepts being reflashed with a modified system image. Does Nintendo just not care in this case? Are they doing console lockdown almost as retro as the games being emulated?

Comment Re:Good! (Score 1) 202

Microsoft seems to have been getting less reliable in terms of not killing things for novelty's sake(Ballmer may have been a jerkass; but he understood what the job of a OS company is better than the ipad-envy faction); but it seems hard to imagine killing cmd.exe About a zillion legacy customers depend on it; and, because it's a legacy dependency, they actively don't want it to change.

It's pretty obvious that all of Microsoft's future love and attention are going toward Powershell; but what would they gain by not shipping cmd.exe until hell freezes over?

Comment Re:not loyalty (Score 1) 191

There's also the minor fact (how do you get called an 'analyst' while screwing up something this simple?) that Samsung is pretty much the vendor who does stylus support in phone-size devices, and the 'Galaxy Note 7', as its name suggests, was one of their stylus equipped models.

Even if you aren't especially wedded to Android, Apple simply doesn't make a comparable device(apparently voluntarily; their 'Apple pencil' thing suggests that they could do a stylus supporting phone if they felt like it). If your best explanation for why the people who spent nontrivial amounts of money to get this device would want a similar replacement is 'committed loyalists'; your analysis is fairly pitiful.

Comment Re:Is it not the other way around? (Score 1) 30

Yeah, it seems to be down to individual preference. I was fine with text based stuff, and most video isn't more than 30fps anyway; but I kept running into a situation where I would move the mouse a bit too fast and the cursor disappearing from where it was in one frame and reappearing where it was for the next frame would show up as a 'blink'/'jump' effect that tweaked my visual response to sudden movement and just drove me nuts.

Saves you some trouble if you aren't bothered, though, things are way better than they used to be; but 4k at 60Hz is still off the table for a lot of real world hardware combinations.

Comment A more general problem... (Score 1) 295

This case highlights a more general problem with most(not quite all, Nexus devices and a few others aren't affected) Android hardware:

Vendors just don't supply system images. If they are in a good mood, you might get some OTA updates; and there will be some key combo that allows you to initiate a 'system restore', which may do the trick if nothing has tampered with or corrupted the 'system' side of things and just wiping the user-writeable data is good enough; but if you want to reflash the entire device? Haha, good luck with that.

Doing this with iDevices generally requires installing the weeping pustule that is iTunes; but if you are willing to do that it's pretty trivial: click, click, new system image. ADB is a trifle clunkier and definitely not intended for general consumer use; but for many models the vendor simply does not provide a system image, period.

It's like the bad old days when Wintel OEMs treated Windows install CDs(rather than 'restore partitions') as practically a controlled substance; except that there is no such thing as a 'generic' Android install, so you either get vendor cooperation; hope for a usable 3rd party build; or get nothing.

I really don't understand why this is the case. If you are willing to distribute the ROM written to handsets; you know full well that anyone who really cares will be able to inspect it without too much trouble; and there are a variety of situations where being able to just reflash everything above the bootloader is really convenient(and, even if you are a control freak, you don't sacrifice any control by providing a signed image with a locked bootloader); but a substantial portion of Android devices just don't have system images available, expect perhaps as unofficial extracted versions pulled from devices. Why not?

Comment Re:Is it not the other way around? (Score 1) 30

LCDs have refresh rates; but they don't 'flicker' the way CRTs do(unless the video source instructs them to).

Even when displaying a static image, CRTs show substantial variations in brightness(easily visible with video gear; really annoying to the naked eye with lousier hardware) as the electron guns scan about keeping the right phosphors pumped.

LCDs may flicker at the PWM frequency of the backlight LEDs, if LED backlit; but refresh rate reflects only how often a new image can be sent to the panel, not how often the electron gun redraws the image; so unless the input video is flickery, an LCD won't show appreciable flicker at any refresh rate. The only real issue is if the refresh rate is low enough that you can no longer generate a convincing illusion of continuous motion for things like mouse pointers(opinions vary; but 30Hz drove me nuts for that reason).

Comment Re:Why they are slow? (Score 1) 766

You joke; but games are actually one of the places where Flash(though not Adobe Flash) is arguably most tasteful and inoffensive(plus, since it isn't trying to render arbitrary stuff from wildly untrustworthy sources all the time, probably safest).

I haven't seen it as much as I used to; but 'Scaleform' is a reasonably popular middleware package that allows you to embed vector art assets authored with Flash tools into 3d engines; typically used for drawing UIs, 2D labels, etc. for 3D engines that had needs for which polygon-based stuff wasn't the best approach. Civ IV's UI, among a variety of others, was done that way.

I'm told that, as the supply of artists familiar with Flash has declined, along with Flash's popularity, the trend has been toward embedding a tame webkit derivative and using its text rendering and SVG support instead; but for all its sins on the web, Flash isn't a particularly illogical choice if you need to add some vector graphics to a 3d environment; and Scaleform was the implementation optimized for doing that.

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