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Comment Re:or firewire? (Score 1) 242

So I'm sorry but Firewire is as dead as floppies, USB won ages ago and isn't going anywhere.

It's not as dead as you think it is. It's not of any use to most consumers, that's for sure - but I have yet to see a version of USB that has the timing issues fixed. Firewire still gets used where precise real-time operation is required, such as audio and video work.

Firewire could have easily killed USB if they had priced it the same. I assume Thunderbolt has even more precise timing capabilities than Firewire, but at the current prices I'm not close to being interested!

-- Steve

Comment Re:wasting time? (Score 2) 197



Vents get blocked, causing overheating, more noise, and it ends up shortening the life of the machine.

One colleague's laptop was getting slow and was quite loud. All the dust stopped it cooling properly, so the CPU kept getting switched to a low speed and the fan still couldn't pump enough air through. After hoovering out, it was quiet and quick!

If you don't keep your machines clean, this happens:

- Dirty, dirty PCs: The X-rated picture guide

- Dirty PCs: How much filth can you take?

- Filthy PCs: The X-rated circus of horrors

- Unfeasibly vast amphibian found croaked on video card

- Bring out your dead

-- Steve

Comment Re:thousand million (Score 1) 361

Odd that the Americans would use the more rational system.

It depends on your point of view. The short scale that the US uses skips all the *illiard units, which may simplify things.

The long scale has billion==million^2, trillion==million^3 and so on. Mathematically, it seems that the long scale is no less rational than the short scale. It certainly scales up better.

I haven't worked out why the UK changed - especially as the change is as complete as the change from Imperial to Metric. Scientists and anyone over 40 are likely to use the long scale; younger people and those dealing with financials will probably use short scale... but then either side may swap over just to confuse you!

Personally, I blame the French!

-- Steve

Comment Possible good news for Vodafone customers (Score 1) 59

If you're a Vodafone/Arcor customer with an Easybox, check the label on the back. If it says Arcadyan, then I'm sorry for you, but if it says Sphairon (a different company) you're in luck. The cases look the same from the outside, but have different hardware and firmware inside, and the Sphairon kit is much better.

It's possible that this is the case for other ISPs too (eg: Telekom).

-- Steve

Comment Re:Ever bought a used car? (Score 1) 423

To be fair here, the Movie Industry and the Recording Industry BOTH want dib dollars on resells of those product. Car manufacturers get money from parts (even the off-brand ones).

That's true eventually, but pretty much everybody who buys a new car every year would not do so if there wasn't somebody buying the old one.

It is therefore reasonable to assume that a lot of people who regularly buy new games do so using money from sales of their old ones; without those used-game sales, they would not buy as many new games.

The result is that forcing people to only buy new games will result in them buying less games, which will push the price of games up (reducing sales numbers further). Used-game sales enable game companies to shift more units at their original high release price.

I think David Braben is wrong: used game purchases don't force game prices up - not by any significant amount - for the simple reason that those people generally wouldn't be buying the game at its high release price anyway. They will either wait for the price to drop or they won't buy it at all. I do suspect that removing people's ability to legitimately buy second-hand games will increase people's willingness to pirate them.

Didn't Valve release some stats about how game sales shot through the roof when the prices were dropped? Found it: Do video games cost too much?

I still call shenanigans.

Quite rightly... although it's been about 4 years since he posted anything here.

-- Steve

Comment Re:Allows mulitple monitors with rotation (Score 1) 231

Nvidia driver doesn't do xrandr? I use it.

OK, I should qualify my statement: it doesn't support the rotation properly. To be fair, the resize part of 'randr' works fine.

Do you also use multiple screens (where you can drag windows between them), do you still have full acceleration on all screens (including video overlay), and can you rotate the screens individually?

If you can answer yes to all these questions, please please tell us how you did it.

-- Steve

Comment Re:Allows mulitple monitors with rotation (Score 1) 231

I'm doing it now with the NVIDIA driver - one horizontal and one vertical. The line in xorg.conf for the vertical screen is:

Option "Rotate" "Left"

Now for some reason the GUI tool doesn't include that option but it can be done by adding that option to the configuration file.

It looks like there's no way of doing that on the fly, then - or does anybody know how to do that? I know that nVidia's driver doesn't use xrandr. I want to use rotation, but I could only get it to rotate all the screens at once (and I don't really want to stand the laptop on its side).

Looks like I should check out the current Nouveau driver

On a side note: does anyone know the state of the driver for Intel HD graphics? With HD4000 coming out, that's starting to look really interesting...

-- Steve

Comment Re:Amazon did it (Score 1) 338

If the iPad hardware could be produced for less than $500 then everybody would be making iPad competitors for sub-$500, probably for sub-$400.

Well, according to isuppli the iPad 2's hardware costs $326.60.

To be fair, you still have to factor in Apple's own costs (hardware design, software, licensing costs and so on). There's no word on whether that would then exceed the $500. Some costs are shared across other devices, particularly the iPhone.

They're propping up one business arm with another, and that stinks of a monopoly.

It stinks of common business practice. Lots of businesses will use a stronger part to assist a weaker part - usually because the stronger part would suffer without other one.

Abusing a monopoly position to enable aggressive pricing in another segment would certainly be considered anticompetitive, and presumably illegal. What monopoly is it that you think Apple is abusing to prop up the iPad?


Comment Re:Hmm... (Score 2) 256

Apple devices are dirt cheap, these days the only people who don't have an iphone are those who don't want one.

iPhone=700 Euros. Top end android (galaxy S or HTC Desire) or maemo (N900)=450 euros

I think your prices may be a little out of date. Current prices in Germany in Euros are: iPhone 3G (8Gb) costs 519, 4G costs 629 (16Gb) or 739 (32Gb); N900 costs 369 (32Gb) from Android is as you say.

Your point still stands: Apple devices are definitely not dirt cheap. All of them are more expensive than their competition. It's nuts that a 32Gb iPhone costs twice the 32Gb N900.

-- Steve

Comment Re:I'm skeptical (Score 2, Interesting) 603

For some reason, the fact that it's German gives me a little more credulity -- but not enough.

How about the fact that they charged up the Audi A2 once (not in 6 minutes though), and then drove 600km (375 miles) from München to Berlin? More info here: (the site is in German).

The summary title is misleading. Just because the battery can be charged in 6 minutes from a suitable DC source, doesn't mean that anybody actually has that sort of kit about, or even that the car will have a suitable connector. I'm guessing you can charge it fully in less than 2 hours from a standard 32A 400V 3-phase AC supply - these are quite common in Germany, and the picture showing them charging the car looks like it has one of those.

The most interesting thing about this battery is not the mad charge time from some über-Goliath capacitor, it's the size/weight and efficiency of the thing.

-- Steve

Comment Re:Mac Mini + Plex (Score 1) 516

A Mac Mini is just way too expensive to be abused as a streaming media player.

Or as a personal computer.

While someone modded this as 'Troll', it's unfortunately true.

The new Mac Mini is a very nice machine, but the price is just wrong. It's even worse in Europe. It's $699 in the US. The UK price (£649) after subtracting 17.5% tax and converting to USD (rate=1.55) is $856. WTF?

I was looking at buying a Mac Mini a couple of weeks ago. Then I called Dell, who offered me a slightly better spec'd machine for £250 ($387) less.

The description 'way too expensive' is quite accurate. The original Mac Mini was priced well. The new one definitely isn't.

-- Steve

Comment Re:WL-520GU is a great piece for hacking. (Score 1) 300

USB under 2.4 is not as good as 2.6. I'm working on a device with a 2.4 kernel right now, and some things just don't work very well. Card readers are a problem - there's no notification of changes inside the reader (eg: plugging in a card). I can poll devices and find out that way, but then there's the next problem: the kernel crashes when unmounting any card in a reader, except the first. We will be moving to kernel 2.6, but that won't be with the current release. Oh well...

Your problems may also be related to the USB controller. My board is from Infineon (MIPS-32 CPU), and their USB controller is not good! We added the VIA chip, and that's much better - and supports more channels!

-- Steve

Comment Re:power management (Score 1) 907

I'd love to have power management. I could finally find out things like how much charge is left in the battery, and I could enable CPU throttling and so on.

Unfortunately, the only way to make Linux boot on my (2 month old) laptop without causing a kernel panic is to disable ACPI. The kernel doesn't understand the ACPI tables, whereas Vista does (apparently XP too). It's not clear whether the problem lies with Phoenix or the kernel people, but it doesn't work. Can't even power off at shutdown. :-(

Fortunately, the Nvidia driver doesn't use ACPI for its power management, so the GPU throttling works just fine. Everything else works too, even the built-in webcam and WLAN!

-- Steve

Comment Re:Half Life 2 hoarding (Score 1) 346

I lug around those sawblades I find as long as I can, they're awesome weapons. I lugged one through pretty much all of Ravenholm in the original HL2.

Saw blade? Try Dog's ball! (The one you play with when you get the gravity gun.) Take care not to get it too wet, or hot, and you can take it down into the tunnels after Ravenholm, and at least as far as the car/beach. I'm not sure, but you can probably take it as far as Nova Prospekt. I prefer that to a saw blade...

You can take the friendly turrets with you too. The second siege only has 3, but adding the 2 from the first siege helps quite a bit. It makes a big difference having 5 extra in the teleporter room at the end of the level.

-- Steve

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