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Comment What's more scary than the poor math? (Score 1) 1042

The Americans are still - in 2010 - discussing cars that do 10 or 20mpg. 40 years after putting over a dozen people on the moon, and getting them home in one piece.

Here in the UK, you'll struggle to see a car on an everyday basis that achieves figures that low. Sure, abusing any car will give terrible mileage. But I'd take a guess that well over 90% of cars sold here(UK) in the last decade would hit 30mpg with town use, and 40mpg on a run - for a petrol. Stick 5-15mpg on both figures for a modern diesel.

I'm not talking about small cars either, with those figures. 5-seat family cars with decent storage space.

Comment Re:Let people run IE7 on Windows 2000 (Score 1) 458

I ran it quite happily with 48mb, back in 1999. Microsoft actually state the minimum needed as 32mb, though how usable it would be with that I don't know.

Of course, it may need 80mb or more with all the service packs and updates released since launch. But back in '99, it was quite light on resources, and a pretty nimble OS. I still like it even now, despite being over a decade since release.

Comment KDE4 ruined it for me. (Score 5, Interesting) 249

I ran Linux on the desktop for many years - full-time since 2003/4. I've actually - possibly temporarily, possibly permanently - moved to Windows, namely Windows 7.

I used to love KDE. Everything worked nicely, everything felt well-placed. The system made sense. KDE3.5 was pretty much my ideal desktop - I may have become used to different things since then, but at the time - it felt perfect. It was quick, nimble, stable, reliable, packed with decent features. But my main appeal... Amarok. It didn't start out this way, but Amarok 1.4 was a damned good player.

What happened? KDE4 was buggy. It was lacking. It was cosmetically challenged. As the releases went on, things did improve - but I still find I have less features and less usability now than I did in 2007. Even now(at least when I checked a couple of months ago) - why can't I set the clock from the taskbar to sync with an nntp server? How hard can they make it for me to mess with multiple monitors? Why make it so hard for me to put some files on my desktop? Having to manually deactivate all the sounds apart from the one or two I actually _want_?

It is still _my_ desktop, right?

Amarok... needs little discussion. The crux of it for me is I liked the earlier interface. It made sense. It's now completely different, almost catching up in terms of features, but I hate the layout. All I wanted was a list of albums on the left, double click to add albums to the list of stuff playing on the right. Let me move the buttons. I don't care for lyrics, nor the artwork, nor buying music from whatever place they've added as a default. I just want the damned UI that made much more sense than anything else at the time.

I miss Linux. It's rock-stable for me, easy to keep up to date. It's widely configurable, has pretty decent hardware support these days. I like being able to try a new distro on occasion.

But I'm still stuck on the desktop. KDE3.5 is going nowhere. KDE4 spent years as a beta, rolled out with deceitful version numbers indicating it should be good. Even as of 4.4, whilst much improved over the abomonation that was 4.0, it's feeling buggy and incomplete.

I lost interest in Gnome years ago. KDE offered - to me at least - a better experience. I couldn't go back to Gnome, having decided all those years ago that KDE had much more going for it.

What now? I've got Win7 running. I've installed Firefox, Thunderbird, Foobar2000(brilliant!!) and VLC. I genuinely have less criticism for this than I've had for KDE for a long time now. To the point where I'm actually giving serious thought to paying for it. (Yes, I know that's bad - but it really has only been installed for ~10 days. After all these years without touching anything MS, I had no idea whether I'd even still be able to navigate the OS properly.)

Way to go, KDE. Way to go, Amarok. I spent years singing your praises, converting people(not many, but a good handful) from the mundane. Now I've pretty much lost interest in you for the forseeable future...

Comment Re:bad idea (Score 2, Insightful) 270

Tinkering? The whole point of these scanners is to read information and help diagnose problems.

He could do more harm to the "safety of others around" him by advancing the ignition curve, leaning out the mixture, and melting the piston crowns. Or - if he had less sense and went about it the wrong way - working on the assumption that more fuel = more pwer, thereby flooding the followers on the road with a stream of unburnt fuel.

Comment I'd not worry unduly about your desktop box. (Score 1) 2

The article doesn't suggest that this is primarily a result of compromised machines - it simply states that Linux boxes send disproportionately more spam mail than Windows boxes. These machines could have been created with the sole purpose of sending spam, rather than a compromised machine with another primary purpose. However...

"Nisbet said he investigated the originating IP addresses of a random selection of spam from Linux systems. In most cases, he found the spam came from a machine running an open-source mail transfer agent such as Postfix or Sendmail that had been left open to relaying email from third parties. "

Sounds like poorly configured or secured servers may be the real cause of the problem. On a home desktop, you don't need Sendmail or Postfix installed in most cases AFAIK. Leave them disabled/uninstalled, and make sure you're not running an SSH, FTP or telnet server if you don't need to remote access your machine - and *always* use at least a semi-strong password for your accounts; minimum of 8 digits, comprising lowercase, uppercase, numerics and symbols. 'G6bEcy$7' would be a fair example of something prompting outsiders to give up sooner rather than later.. I ran Linux on the desktop for some 7 or 8 years without a single intrusion - possibly by luck, but spending a few minutes reading about basic *nix security certainly didn't hurt.

Comment Re:Brilliant. Go Steve! (Score 1) 609

Depends on how you look at efficiency, I guess. Efficiency doesn't have to relate to MPG - getting to your destination in half the time could be considered more efficient than saving fuel.

Fuel efficiency... well, that tends to on the shoulders of the torque curve, but - as you point out - peaking where the engine produces maximum torque. And even then, a car can be more fuel efficient by moving slightly outside of this area in order to operate at a speed creating less aerodynamic drag. It's worth having a look at "brake specific fuel consumption"...

Comment Come May, I'm quite stuck. (Score 1) 179

This legislation is wrong, poorly planned, and now it seems the implementation could well make it largely useless. This is a Good Thing.

I'd love to vote with my feet over this in the coming election. However, the lack of substance in the opposition makes this a very difficult thing to do. I fear that a vote for Labour would indicate my support on this matter, and it really isn't the case - I'm disgusted with the manner in which this legislation was rushed through at the end of their term, with no chance for the discussion it deserves.

Torn. :-(

Comment Not for UK customers... (Score 1) 1

Still no joy for UK users, I see. It's 2 years since I purchased from Dell - a Vostro laptop. They did oblige to my request for a refund on Windows(one of the few, given recent comments from another Dell user), but still won't offer us an OS-less machine...

Comment Re:The goal (Score 1) 248

So, why use OggVorbis over FLAC?

I don't, I also use FLAC, and am one of the fools with an external DAC and whatnot. The question asked by the OP was how Ogg compares to MP3/4 - for a given bitrate, Ogg/Vorbis was(to my ears) of better quality than an MP3, and could give comparable quality for a smaller filesize, sometimes noticeably so. I started to read the full article, but skipped through the comments(and posted) without getting very far into it, and did kinda miss exactly what was being got at. Sorry.

Comment Re:The goal (Score 4, Interesting) 248

I've always found Ogg/Vorbis to be superior to MP3. Using semi-good gear(electrostatic headphones, for the geeky folk), I find Ogg at q6(average of ~192kbps) to be nearer to CD quality than an MP3 at any bitrate - it's transparent in 95%+ of tracks.. Some music isn't transparent on either format regardless of bitrate, but Ogg has always tended to give better quality for a given filesize. All in my experience...

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