* Posts by 45RPM

1247 posts • joined 26 Oct 2010


Can reflections in eyeglasses actually leak info from Zoom calls? Here's a study into it

45RPM Silver badge

It’s absolutely true. And very valuable to me when I’m interviewing someone remotely - because I can see if they’re googling the answers. Vocal tics, unnatural pauses, reflections - all valuable evidence that something might be amiss.

One indicator on its own won’t condemn an applicant to a failed interview - but put them all together…

Microsoft Outlook sends users back to 1930 with (very) mini-Millennium-Bug glitch

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Me too - and, having fixed it, pulled all nighters around the new year because management weren’t 100% convinced that our fixes worked.

Luckily they did - although the downside is that we now have to put up with conspiracy theorists claiming that it’s all a scam.

I now work in a field adjacent to medical research and I see the same dimwits denigrating the efforts of my colleagues by saying that the Covid vaccine is a scam.

Same dimwits, different decade.

Apple patches iPhone and macOS flaws under active attack

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You don’t need an Apple device to watch Ted Lasso. Just an AppleTV+ subscription. And you can get that on a Samsung or Sony TV (and, doubtless, other brands as well). It’s well worth it by the way, not only for Ted Lasso but also for The Morning Show, Bad Sisters, See, For All Mankind…

But as for whether an Apple Device is worth the risk, yes and a thousand times yes. For my use cases and preferences it’s by far the superior system. If it doesn’t work for you then that’s cool, it won’t spoil my day, pick what you prefer. But don’t kid yourself that your choice is risk free.

Apple debuts iPhone 14, Watch 8, other sparkly things

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I suppose that the phone has to withstand higher G than the human occupants since the human occupants will be enjoying the benefits of seatbelts and airbags - whereas the phone might be brought to a very rapid standstill by the bulkhead or something else hard in the car.

45RPM Silver badge

Very nice. They’re good upgrades. But are they enough to make me open my wallet?



But when I do eventually decide to upgrade - five or six years from now just think what they’ll be capable of.

A refined Apple desktop debuts ahead of Wednesday’s big iThing launch

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I’ve installed it on my Apple IIe. It works very well. I’m not certain that it’ll tempt me into using the old thing as a daily driver again but it’s fun to play with. Briefly. Briefly because when youngest son saw that the Apple II was turned on he absolutely had to have a game of Prince of Persia.

And who can blame him?

Nadine Dorries promotes 'Brexit rewards' of proposed UK data protection law

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Re: UK rejoining the EU?

Probably. And we’ll have no veto. And we’ll have have lost all that influence and trust within Europe.

Yet, despite all that, we’ll be better of as a minor nation within Europe than a failing state outside of it.

I don’t blame the people who were fooled into voting for Brexit. I blame the perpetrators of this crime, and I pity the people who still haven’t come to their senses - or are unable to see the truth.

Truly Brexit was an act of treason on an almost unprecedented scale.

45RPM Silver badge

I disagree. Whilst rejoining the EU has to be an objective, we will all benefit from electing a government which has the best interests of the country and its people at heart rather than the government we have now which is only interested in the financial well-being of its donors.

True, the Tories have made such an unholy pigs ear of the country that any new government will need decades to fix the mess - but that doesn’t mean we should give up. It just means that we should resolve to do all we can to ensure that these idiots never get elected again - at least until they abandon absolute greed and their far right ideology.

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Downvotes are to be expected. There are an astonishingly large number of gullible people in the world, whether swallowing the fascist claptrap of the MAGA republicans or greedily swallowing the lies of Farage, Mogg, Johnson and the right wing press (largely but not exclusively controlled by Murdoch) or (and because I’m a woolly centrist) the far left policies of Momentum (who seem to be equally at home to weird conspiracy theories, and are so hell bent on their idea of perfection that they’d rather have a Conservative government in power than work with more moderate parties to oust them)

45RPM Silver badge

It’s astonishing isn’t it (except not at all astonishing to anyone with half a brain). But all the Tory attempts at reducing red tape through half baked schemes like Brexit have left us awash with the stuff. There’s more paperwork and box ticking than ever.

And all their promises to make us richer have made them richer and the rest of us poorer. They’re an absolute shower, the lot of them, and they’re driving this country into the crapper.

Not so much the party of fiscal probity as the party of anal probity - so bend over because here it comes again.

Nothing good will come of this, and the sooner we can have a government that cares about this country and it’s people the better.

Voyager 1 data corrupted by onboard computer that 'stopped working years ago'

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Well I recapped my Apple II recently - but I was able to get my hands on it and do it directly. It’s not like it was in the next county (let alone country, continent, planet…)

Meet the CrowPi-L – a clever, slightly rustic, Raspberry Pi laptop chassis

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Re: Conflicted

Perhaps. But consider how much the cost of the battery, screen, keyboard, trackpad and case is on a ‘normal’ laptop vs the cost of the logic board. I’ll bet that the logic board represents less than 30% of the total cost (although, since I’m not a manufacturer of laptops, I could be bang wrong)

45RPM Silver badge

I got quite excited by this. Excited to the point of being prepared to open my wallet. But, at that price, I’d want a keyboard at least as good as the official keyboard (which is only mediocre so it shouldn’t be too much to ask), a trackpad in the right place - and a non rustic connection to the display. Given these limitations, I’ll be saving my money.

NASA builds for keeps: Voyager mission still going after 45 years

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Re: Technology Perspective

Have you been forgetting to take your dried frog pills again?

SpaceX demonstrates that it too can shower the Earth with debris

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Re: Raising the odds?

I thought that million to one chances crop up nine times out of ten?

Your job was probably outsourced for exactly the reason you suspected

45RPM Silver badge

If loops and whether tabs or spaces are used is your primary concern then I’m guessing that you’re either very junior or working on the type of software which is likely to get offshored for reasons of cost.

45RPM Silver badge

I can see advantages to hiring in India (and elsewhere), but the motivator shouldn’t be saving money. The motivator should be getting the broadest perspective possible - culturally diverse teams build better products in my experience. A monoculture does nobody any favours!

I’d be interested to know if there are particular types of software development that get offshored for the purposes of saving money. My gut feeling is that it probably isn’t green field development, the development of something entirely different and new. My gut feeling is that ‘the outsourced for reasons of cost’ development is for cost reduced versions of something which already exists.

Apple forgoes cooling systems in M2 MacBook Air

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Re: Old tricks

Well that’s true. My dad bought me one. Worst computer I ever had - but my main problem with it wasn’t the flimsy construction. It was the woeful keyboard and mouse.

But there’s no denying that they sold like hotcakes.

45RPM Silver badge

Re: Old tricks

You’re talking about the PC1512 there - and the whole fan fiasco was a smear by the manufacturers of competing, but much more expensive, IBM clones. Amstrad responded by releasing the PC1640 which had genuine improvements, not least EGA compatibility and an extra slot, as well as that unnecessary fan (in the monitor, not the system unit). It sold like hot cakes. Amstrads brand was certainly not dented - and they continued to sell well for another ten years or thereabouts.

By that time though, the entire computing business was over-commoditised - every computer was super cheap and in effect an Amstrad. So Amstrad pulled out of the market, their niche now being occupied by everyone else. Of course, super cheapness meant no profit to innovate with - so killing the Archimedes, Amiga, the ST Falcon and very nearly the Mac. These were not good times to be interested in computers. But that’s another story.

45RPM Silver badge

Re: The title is no longer required.

Hmm. You haven’t actually used one have you? I have several laptops (Lenovo, Dell and Apple), and the MacBook Air is the pick of the crop. Even with umpteen programs (IDEs, Office, Zoom etc) all running at the same time, it never seems to struggle or skip a beat. It runs cool if not stone cold - and I never have to remember to bring a power supply with me when I go to the office because it will happily go 10 hours with battery life to spare without being plugged in. I wish I could say the same of my other laptops. Oh, and it’s slim enough and light enough that I can carry it on my bike for the 20 mile ride to the office without feeling like I’m carrying a lead brick.

Yes, for video and render workloads there are quicker machines (that’s why the MacBook Pro exists after all), but for the work that most people need to do the Air is exactly the right machine for the job. And whilst Intel may have faster chips in absolute terms, it has nothing even approaching this level of performance in this form factor.

FYI: BMW puts heated seats, other features behind paywall

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Yeah - that happened to me when an incorrectly fitted sump drain plug fell out. My beloved didn’t notice the increasingly urgent warning lights from the car telling her to stop right away - and merrily motored all the way home (a distance of 70 miles)

Astonishingly, the cost was a new drain plug and a refill of all. 100k miles later it’s still running sweetly.

I can only assume that because the car was moving when the disaster occurred all the oil was circulating up in the engine so enough was available to keep it running.

45RPM Silver badge

Why? If you don’t sign in then surely there’s no problem?

45RPM Silver badge

Thanks for the consumer advice. Make mine a Volvo. Although when Volvo start fitting hardware to the car and charging customers to use it* then make mine an old Volvo, built before these consumer unfriendly practices became commonplace.

* I’ll exempt those functions for which payment for a third party license is necessary - like Apple CarPlay for example - since that is outside the manufacturers hands and, if you have an Android phone, why should it be mandatory to pay for that license? Such caveats clearly don’t apply to the heated seats however.

Boris Johnson set to step down with tech legacy in tatters

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Re: Sub-sea nukes

It seems to me that there’s more than enough renewable energy to go around, 24/7. The problem is whether or not we are

A) Clever enough to use it

B) Able to capture it without generating a lot of very harmful chemical waste in the process of building the necessary equipment.

The wind may not blow all the time, but that’s no reason not to use its power when its power is available. We can store that energy for use when the wind isn’t blowing.

The sun may not shine all the time but when the sun isn’t shining with sufficient power to run solar the earth itself is radiating energy back into space - and solar panels are now being developed which can harness this power.

Tides never stop, giving a huge potential source of power which only lets up briefly at high and low tide - but since high and low tides are at different times even in a single county (let alone around the world) this too represents a continual source of energy.

But the best source of all is not using the energy. Do you really need a seven seater SUV to carry one person around (I find for one person a bike usually works well, and for nearly everyone else a small car is ideal). Do you really need your TV, router, microwave etc to be on standby while you sleep at night? The potential savings are huge!

Love and Kisses, RES B (Renewable Energy Scumbag)

Totaled Tesla goes up in flames three weeks after crash

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Re: Am I the only one

Most people don’t commute for that length of time, and most people don’t need to carry any more kit to work than their sandwiches and a laptop.

And a gentle ride into work won’t event break a sweat. So I maintain that a bike, for the majority (but not for all) is a very practical proposition.

45RPM Silver badge

Re: Am I the only one

A couple of weeks ago my bicycle was at Lands End, yesterday it arrived in John O’Groats (nearly 1000 miles down the road) still carrying my middle aged arse (not to mention the rest of me). Pollution? Some particulates from the tyres, a little oil - and some particularly noisome exhaust after a curry in Glasgow - but, other than that, fairly minimal.

I do my commutes on it (16 miles each way) too. The point is that the car isn’t actually necessary for most journeys - and the least polluting fuel is the one that you’re going to need to consume anyway (breakfast). So yes, pat on the back Tesla for being less polluting than a fossil burning car (maybe) but it’s a bit like patting yourself on the back because your strychnine diet is less poisonous than novichok.

Oh, and before anyone complains that a bike isn’t practical for most people I’d like to point out that I met an 82 year old who was riding the same journey of 1000 miles on her bike.

Apple may have to cough up $1bn to Brits in latest iPhone Batterygate claim

45RPM Silver badge

I’m genuinely not sure that I understand this. My understanding (and I’ll caveat this by saying that I’m not sure that I care enough to do further research either) is that performance was being throttled as the battery aged in order to ensure that one of the primary functionalities (the phone) had the longest life possible on a single charge. I also understood that there’s a setting which allows the user to prioritise performance over life. I could be wrong on any of that but…

I am an iPhone user. I recently replaced my aging iPhone 7 with an iPhone whatever the latest is (13?) And yes, at some point in 2019, the iPhone 7 started dragging. At that point I took it to Apple, had the battery replaced (for not a large sum) and Hey Presto! All the performance returned.

As a software developer I think that I might have made the same design decisions. So is this a legitimate complaint (feels like No to me) or a spot of ambulance chasing (at the moment I’m voting Yes to this)

How did you mourn Internet Explorer's passing?

45RPM Silver badge

Last version of IE that I used was IE5. Its been dead to me for a very long time.

Record players make comeback with Ikea, others pitching tricked-out turntables

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Re: We are in the wrong business...

Whilst you’re right, I do like to use speaker cable but only because it’s flatter than mains cable and therefore easier to lay in the living room. Still doesn’t need to be expensive though. I got a large reel of the stuff for £20, enough to cable up both my systems (one stereo, one 5.1).

I’ve still got some extra left - only, because it’s now been cut with audio quality wire cutters and it’s been qualified, it’ll now cost you a bargain £15K / metre. I’ll even throw in a certificate of authenticity.

45RPM Silver badge

Re: We are in the wrong business...

There is an awful lot of bullshit floating around in the Hifi world, almost like conspiracy theories. You can spend thousands on audio grade Ethernet for your digital streamer (!) although I haven’t yet seem any audio grade routers! You can spend thousands on speaker cable. You can spend tens of thousands on an individual speaker.

I would argue that for under a grand on the amp, a couple of hundred per speaker and a few tens of quid on speaker cable (plus the cost of the source of your choice) you can come up with a system which would, in blind testing, satisfy any audiophile.

Ultimately though, you don’t even need to spend that much. If your IKEA turntable and a Bluetooth speaker make you happy then who cares what anyone else thinks?

45RPM Silver badge

I’m still playing records on the same Technics SL-7 that I was using forty years ago - albeit that everything else in my hifi set up has changed. And as for the naysayers who say that vinyl sound quality is rubbish, well you’re wrong. And you’re also right.

If the record player is good quality (most aren’t), and is fitted with a good quality stylus (most aren’t), and the vinyl is a well looked after and high quality heavy pressing (most aren’t) then vinyl sounds superb and has a tactility to it that not even a CD can match. Is it as good in absolute terms as a lossless digital file - well, that depends on what the source of the file was and the bit rate that it was encoded at. It also depends on what you listen to it with. Most people listen to music on their TV, or on a micro system with cheap speakers, or on a sound bar - and I promise you that my old analogue system will knock seven bells out of any system like that, before making a start on higher end systems (and then, at some point, getting handed its hat)

We sat through Apple's product launch disguised as a dev event so you don't have to

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Re: We're long past peak tech

Bloody kids. Young people today, don’t know they’re born etc etc.

I’m a geek. I love this computing nonsense. I have a Linux computer for coding on, Windows (ditto), an M1 Mac for daily work (and coding on), and various older machines (including ones with Snow Leopard, Leopard, Tiger, A/UX, MacOS 9 (8, 7 & 6), and more besides) that I like to use and relax with.

In my spare moments, I have coding projects in flight with ThinkC 5.5 and Xcode 3 - as well as some properly up to date stuff. So, as you can see, I’m pretty immersed in this old stuff. Not just nostalgia and rose tinted glasses - I can lay my hands on it and use it. And so I feel confident calling bullshit on your assertion. The latest MacOS is demonstrably better than it’s predecessors, ditto Windows and Linux. Sure, there’s occasionally a bad release that bucks the trend, but the overall trend is upward and betterward.

45RPM Silver badge

Re: The 2013 MacbookAir was the last good one :(

Do you use it to read floppy discs as well or load data off of cassette? Not to denigrate any storage medium particularly, but a MacBook Air is just as capable of reading those as it is of reading optical media.

Which is to say that it can’t. At least, no more than any modern Mac can. Not without an external device. /pedant mode

Taser maker offers electric-shock drones to stop school shootings

45RPM Silver badge

Or, and here’s an idea, how about the US (and particularly the Republican Party)…

1) stops pissing about and misrepresenting the second amendment as something that it isn’t.

2) recognises the NRA for what it is - a borderline terrorist organisation, holding the politician institutions of the country to ransom (and even, on occasion, via its members, threatening people)

3) banning pistols, assault rifles and magazines larger than 5 rounds. For everything else, ensuring stringent licenses and controls are in place. You know. Doing what the rest of the developed world (more or less) does.

Small nuclear reactors produce '35x more waste' than big plants

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Re: even more safer to operate?

I’d be careful with the truth. A lot of people don’t want to hear it.

I’d be interested to know how much damaging waste is produced by all forms of energy - I’m a fan of wind, solar and wave, but I also accept that they’re not waste free. The manufacture of the PV panels, the magnets in the solar generator etc. equally I’m fairly sure that Mw for Mw they product less waste than coal, gas or nuclear. But what nuclear? Fission? Hybrid? Fusion (coming soon)?

I’d like to be able to make a properly informed decision on which energy is cleanest - rather than one based on bias. I’d also like to suggest that the cleanest form of energy is not using it at all - so turn off those vampire devices at night (standby mode is not your friend!), buy energy efficient devices (including cars, you probably don’t need an SUV, electric or otherwise), and if it’s just a gizmo that won’t really benefit your life then don’t buy it at all. /hypocrite-mode

Voyager 1 space probe producing ‘anomalous telemetry data’

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Re: Aliens! Petite rouge ones.

Well we didn't use it all, Lister. Who did?

We can bend the laws of physics for your super-yacht, but we can't break them

45RPM Silver badge

I had an issue with a super fast cluster that I lead the team writing the software for. In test, it all checked out. In integration and UAT it all checked out (this being in the days when we could touch the hardware in those environments, and check it was all correct).

In production? Where we weren’t allowed to go without filling in copious amounts of paperwork? Nope. Not working properly. Odd timing issues were buggering up the software. Right away we were fairly sure what was happening - but the guys who set it up insisted that they’d followed the instructions exactly.

Paperwork was filled in, and three of us marched into the server room only to discover that the instructions had been followed only in the broadest sense of the word. The fibres connecting the cluster were supposed to have been cut to the same length. One was about 80cm long (which was fine). Another was about five meters, and coiled up in rack. Which was not fine. And, in fact, the source of the problem.

Physics. It’s a bugger. And the speed of light particularly so - at least until someone invents Tachyonic Subspace Data Transmission (or maybe Quantum Entanglement Data Transmission)

Apple to replace future iPhone Lightning port with USB-C next year, this guy claims

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Lightning had its place and had its time. It was vastly better than Apples previous ‘orrible connector and still much better than other USB connectors. But against USB-C? It’s tosh. Bin it, move on, happy days.

The end of the iPod – last model available 'while supplies last'

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Re: Sad but inevitable RIP

I applaud your upcycling. Top effort. Have an upvote.

45RPM Silver badge

My iPod was great - actually, all of them were great. But I don’t have them any more. Their time is in the past. I’m not going to get nostalgic about them. It’s not like they were as influential (on me, at least) as the Spectrum. The BBC micro. The Commodore C64.

I can get nostalgic about a ‘proper’ computer because it’s essentially a creative device - it’s a tool to help the user make things. Getting nostalgic about an iPod? No. No more than I’d get nostalgic about a TV, or a radio. I like ‘em. I use ‘em. But I’m not going to celebrate them.

My iPod gave way to my iPhone with no diminishment of capability. My iPod Shuffle (which I used for the gym and for running) was superseded by my watch. And so it goes. One day these devices will reach the end of their lives, and I won’t shed a tear about that either.

OpenAI's DALL·E 2 generates AI images that are sometimes biased or NSFW

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Re: The real world as it is, or as you'd like it?

slightly left of centre woke utopia where every profession has equal representation of every protected characteristic

Sounds good to me. Better by far than the xenophobic misogynist right wing hellscape we find ourselves in right now.

I must admit, I do like being awake (‘woke’), although I can also understand why the snowflake right might want to sleep through the dystopia that they’ve created.

Outlook bombards Safari users with endless downloads

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Re: Slowfari

That’s not my experience. Admittedly, I haven’t tried it on a low end Intel Mac, but on a high end Intel Mac or Apple Silicon Safari really flies. I’ve found it to be the fastest browser - and Firefox to be the one that bogs down.

Perhaps this is a matter of pick the tool that works for you - and be glad that there’s a choice. On the Mac at least.

As for iOS and iPadOS, I do find it objectionable that only WebKit is available for rendering. I like WebKit, I probably wouldn’t use the alternatives, but I’d like to have the choice.

Apple to bin apps that go three years without updates

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On the one hand this is a good idea because, even if the software works it might contain security issues, be linked against deprecated libraries etc - and requiring developers to do some housekeeping is no bad plan. But…

On the other hand it’s a bloody horrible idea which is likely to generate a ton of e-waste. I have a couple of iPad 2s, 32 bit devices for which no new software will ever be written - but the old software is still available. I can, today at least, install apps from the App Store for it - so they’re still handy devices for the kids to play with. I assume that this stunt will remove all that old software and, in doing so, turn all those old 32 bit devices into paperweights.

It should be said that it is possible to build software for your iOS devices and install using Xcode, and there’s a wealth of open source software available, in effect making side loading a possibility. But it does require technical savvy, and even with that technical knowledge it is a bit of a pain in the arse.

Your AI can't tell you it's lying if it thinks it's telling the truth. That's a problem

45RPM Silver badge

I can’t tell you I’m lying if I think I’m telling the truth either. Because then I’d be caught out in a lie about lying.

Does that mean I’m an AI too? ‘Cos I have to tell you that if I am then I’m not a very good one.

ZX Spectrum, the 8-bit home computer that turned Europe onto PCs, is 40

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Re: Yeah

If they made it as easy to buy as TheC64 then I’d buy one like a shot. Right now, I’m holding out for TheA500 Maxi. I never had an Amiga - and I’d like to rectify that deficiency.

45RPM Silver badge

Weird, horrible to use, but efficient (at least on the ZX80 and 81) where each keyword took up only a single byte - thereby eking every last bit of their limited memories. Very clever.

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I wanted a Spectrum, but I had a TI99 and a Newbrain. Dad said, if you want games then write them yourself.

So I did.

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Linus the man made Linux, not QL the machine. Had Linus been using a PC, an Amiga, an ST or a Mac I reckon he’d still have been dissatisfied with the OS (or just curious about how to write one) and then, hey presto, Linux.

The QL is an interesting detail. It isn’t the story.

45RPM Silver badge

Re: Where it all began...for some

And whilst the Apple II may not have been big in the UK (and it did have cheesy graphics, but that had nothing to do with the CPU), some huge and massively popular games, like Prince of Persia, started life there.

Similarly, the BBC Micro was regarded as one of the quicker 8bit machines - and it was packing a 6502 family CPU as well.

If you look at raw clock speed, then yes. The Z80 is quicker. But clock speed doesn’t tell the whole story - if it did then an over clocked Pentium 4 would toast a Ryzen (which clearly isn’t the case). The 6502 is more efficient, getting more work done per clock cycle. When you take everything into account, the Z80 and the 6502 are pretty comparable.

macOS Server discontinued after years on life support

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Re: A final shot to the head for a twitching zombie

Hmm - I’m sure there was a very good reason that I set up all my network stuff on Linux.



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