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Comment RCA VIP (Score 1) 857

My dad worked for RCA, so in about 1977 he bought a VIP (at an employee discount of course). This was one of the old "hobby computers" (some assembly required, programmed via a hex keypad, 2K of RAM), while he assembled it I read the manual. It was officially his, but I did all the programming. He did find a version of BASIC intended for the SuperELF which I was able to modify for the VIP, he added an ASCII keyboard (which he rewired from EBCDIC) and teletype for a printer (again rewired) and expanded the memory to 8K. Likewise a few years later my brother got a VIC-20 - his handwriting was so bad his teachers required him to type all his assignments - and I programmed on that.

The first computer I ever owned was a Timex/Sinclair 2068 (the US equivalent of a 48K Spectrum, with a few additions) which I still have in the garage somewhere. I used that until about 1988 when Dad gave me some PC-compatible to write my dissertation on.

Comment BASIC (Score 1) 467

What I really miss ... after the "hobby computers" - the ELF and VIP and so on - they all came with a programming language, generally BASIC. Mind you, they were all different in some small details, but be it the Apple II, the VIC-20 and C-64, the Atari, the Spectrum or even the early IBM PCs you could sit down and write simple to moderately complex code and run it immediately. Not that it was all that fast of course, but it gave you a sense of being able to do something yourself. These days a computer comes with a bunch of bundled software - most of which you either don't want or would have to activate (pay additional money for) or both - but nothing that lets you say "I did this myself".

Comment Really? (Score 1) 510

I can name dozens of distros which don't require tweaking - provided you have compatible hardware of course. Linux drivers are better than they were, but there can still be a few issues. Just grab any of the live distros and see how they work for you, and if you like it then install the full version.

Any of the *buntu distros
Mint
Mageia
PCLinuxOS

Comment FM radio (Score 1) 332

I know, your device doesn't have a radio, but we've seen discussions about it recently. My device (a 10" Lenovo tablet that was a Black Friday special) actually does have a radio ... but it only works when the headphones are plugged in. Like the old Walkman, the headphones are used for the antenna. So ... no headphone jack = no FM radio.

Comment Where do you sit? (Score 1) 179

How many people are in the room with you - or do you always watch by yourself? How close are people to the center of curvature? If you're at too much of an angle the image along the closer edge will be at even more of an angle and hard to see. Also, the floor sample I've seen appears to have a radius of curvature of about 8' (I didn't measure it, though) - if you're much further then flat might be better anyway.

IMAX is more immersive because it subtends a larger viewing angle; if you sat 3' from your curved TV (and wore glasses to make it seem further) you might be able to duplicate the experience. Otherwise, it's not worth it.

Comment Re:I don't want free shipping (Score 1) 183

Here in OH, you only have to pre-pay on pumps that are farther from the booth/store. Or if you drive one of those big dually pickups with two tanks that hold 50 gallons between them. Otherwise, you press the Pay inside button, fill it up, and go inside to pay - some people even drive from the pump to the store before paying.

Comment ASDA (Score 1) 114

In this particular case, since it is described as "alpha quality" then the owner and/or person who installed the software is liable. The question should be, "If there were OSS of stable quality properly installed on a compatible vehicle in excellent condition (so that neither the vehicle nor the installation procedure can be considered as "at fault"), who would be considered liable in an accident that can't be blamed on local conditions (weather, etc.) or the other party?

Comment Train as you do (Score 1) 285

Might be okay for practice grenades perhaps, but can "green" bullets reproduce the weight and flight path of bullets used in war? If it doesn't then you might as well be running around shouting "Bang" for all the good it does you. If your practice bullets don't go the same place your real bullets do, you'll be shooting in the wrong place.

Comment No longer code (Score 1) 218

I don't write software for a living, but I used to write it for a classroom (on C-64s), I recall a program I rewrote, the original version was brute force and had to be compiled (there were compilers for C-64 BASIC) to get anything like a decent speed. My rewrite was about 10,000 times faster, so that running my version in the interpreter was faster than the original compiled version!

If you don't consider complexity your "quick and dirty" solution may not be as good as you think ...

Comment Some are easy to look for (Score 1) 147

Battery drain can be because of incorrectly configured hotspots. No doubt anyone who is in the same place all the time could spot a "stingray" - a cell tower that appears and disappears. So they could look for some obvious possibilities,

Disappearing Facebook posts? Is their password that bad, or are they posting content that could be subject to DMCA takedown? Otherwise I'm not sure FB would cooperate.

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