* Posts by Sam Adams the Dog

71 posts • joined 6 Apr 2011


AI finally understands primitive sketches – aka marketing presentations

Sam Adams the Dog

As in all else, Orwell is correct.

but... but... if it's so much better than humans, how are humans able to judge its accuracy?

-Confused in NY.

Scientists love MacBooks (true) – but what about you?

Sam Adams the Dog

Right for the wrong reasons

I am a scientist/software-developer working for a company that sells software to scientists. Linux is our main development platform, and indeed most of our income comes from HPC apps that run on large clusters or GPU-enabled machines, including some on the cloud. Front end-end GUIs run on Linux, Mac and Windows (and, to some extent, in OS-agnostic browsers).

First, the idea that if you build on Linux it just runs on Mac is completely wrong. The back end is easier to port to Mac than Windows because of the shared *x heritage, but easier ≠ easy. Front-end cross-platform compatibility is made easier by our use of Qt, but on this level, it's actually a little bit easier to port Linux to Windows than Mac, because Linux and Windows share the paradigm of separate menu bars for each app, whereas Mac has "one true menu bar."

Though most of us internally have Linux on the desktop, most of us use Mac on our personal machines, including (a) developers developing and testing code at home and (b) field engineers demonstrating SW and helping customers on site.

This is in contrast to our commercial customers, 90% of whom use Windows. So (1) why do our field engineers use Macs, and (2) why do our commercial customers use Windows?

1. Our people use Macs because: (a) We can run Windows and Linux on VMs. You can't run a Mac VM on another platform. So we can support all three of our platforms from the same machine. (b) We do find the Mac easier to use (especially because many of us come from Linux/HPC backgrounds) and also because of the generally acknowledged convenience factors you mentioned. Because of this, our Systems group has to support Mac whether they like it or not; and indeed, many of our customers, especially in the academic world, use Mac. But again, our bread-and-butter is HPC apps that run on Linux clusters, including GPU-enabled clusters, and on Linux on the Cloud.

2. Our commercial customers use Windows primarily because that's what their IT department supports. But that begs the question, why is that? (a) Yes, there is a heritage of Windows support and a large body of Windows-trained system personnel out there to hire. It's hard to find IT admins who know Linux and Mac well, especially when the Linux side includes GPU-equipped boxes, large clusters and the cloud. And there is a large body of legacy enterprise-level desktop clients that run only on Windows. But (b), having been personally involved in efforts to support Windows HPC (which succeeded technically, but not economically), and who has had Windows on my desktop over periods of many years, and who has listened to my sysadms, the fact is that Apple has nothing to compete with the support that Windows has for enterprise-wide management of machine and software configurations. In an earlier post you gave a few alternatives for this sort of support, but, as you concluded, the extent of it does not compare with what is available for Windows.

The fact is that Apple has never really been interested in pursuing the enterprise market and creating such tools. They may never. In the meantime, the past few Mac OS X releases (Mavericks, Yosemite) have been rather unstable, and we are hearing more and more good things about Windows-10. So we could possibly see a reversal of preference, where even people like me decide that Windows makes more sense. But, to be honest, that would be a long time coming.

Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

Sam Adams the Dog

Rockefeller and Amazon?

"Rockefeller was a shrewd cookie. He continued to push the price of kerosene and other oil products downwards, even when he was the dominant player."

Just like Amazon with AWS....

Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

Sam Adams the Dog

Bunk is bunk

"Is Agile bunk? No, but much of what is sold as Agile has little to do with what you find in the Agile Manifesto.®"

Ahem. i'm only a dog (iOAD™), but:

Is Communism bunk? No, but much of what is sold as Communism has little to do with what you find in the Communist Manifesto.

Is Free Enterprise bunk? No, but much of what is sold as Free Enterprise has little to do with what you find in Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations."

Cf. The "No True Scotsman" fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

Sam Adams the Dog

Too easy.

It's easy to say you're not there to make money when you're rolling in it.

Saying students shouldn't use computers so much is like saying (back in my day) that kids shouldn't watch so much television. Both are ubiquitous because they are fun. The prissiness of the Ives of the world won't win any battles.

Firefox decade: Microsoft's IE humbled by a dogged upstart. Native next?

Sam Adams the Dog

Browsers make for impoverished interfaces

After many years of using both browsers and native apps, I'm convinced that browsers make for impoverished interfaces. There are several issues, but at the interface level, an important one is that many special keys (tab and control sequences) are co-opted by the browser itself, and are unavailable to the app interface without (1) requiring stentorian effort by the developers to overcome the browser's natural behavior, and (2) causing the user grief in some circumstances when the tab (let us say) does not carry out its expected browser-related function. Try adding a tab to your text in your web-based mail app.

Then, browser-based client-cloud apps are generally slow and unresponsive compared to local native apps. I use Google Spreadsheets a lot; I do love the way I can easily make them visible to other users. That's a big plus. But even on a Mac, Microsoft Excel is just so much more responsive, Or searching in Gmail, compared to the native app. These behaviors in the brower-based client-cloud app are just Bad. As I said, there are compensating virtues. These things are more due to the client-server aspect of the apps and of the poor performance of Google's cloud than they are to the browser itself; but nevertheless, there it is.

I'm not sure what the Mozilla guy is saying when he says native is dead. Is he saying native is dead for a browser performing ordinary browser functions, like search, display, and the simple filling of forms? This seems likely to me. Performance may lie in the web connectivity and server performance -- and by the continual serving up of stupid ads. But that's all part of the browser-based umm, "ecosystem". A native-coded browser isn't going to help you there.

But if he's talking about apps in general, like number crunching apps, including large spreadsheets, he's clearly way, way off base.

It's a pain in the ASCII, so what can be done to make patching easier?

Sam Adams the Dog

As in all else, Orwell is correct.

"Looking at my own desktop, it has been pending updates for about four months now, even though I know full well how important patching is.:"

It was better in the old days when your computer crashed several times a week, relieving you of the necessity of pressing the Restart button....

And by the way, don't you love the apps that tell you you need to upgrade only when you open them to use them?

BlackBerry claims ugly duckling Passport mobe is a swan in the offing

Sam Adams the Dog

Too awkward

I agree with those who say it looks too hard to hold and with those who point out that it's too big to put into a pocket. If I have to carry it in a bag, I'd rather have a tablet, so no good for me, unfortunately.

If they had only made it about 30% larger and kept the large keyboard and square screen, it would have made a great tablet. And as for those who buy note-size phones and keep them in a large wallet, as one responder alleged, where do they put the large wallet?

On the other hand, this may be a good solution for women who are never without a purse but don't need a larger tablet.

We got behind the wheel of a Tesla S electric car. We didn't hate it

Sam Adams the Dog

As in all else, Orwell is correct.

Hey, regarding how you'll feel about the touch screen 20 years from now, I'd say don't worry. In 20 years, people will be producing "retro" Tesla-S control software so that your new car or spaceship or whatever it is will look and feel like a Tesla S. Of course, 10 years from now, it will feel embarrassingly antiquated. May you live a long life.

Walking while texting can – OUCH! – end badly, say boffins

Sam Adams the Dog

And whatever you do...

... don't try chewing gum at the same time.

iPad Air peels off in racy pics for wide-eyed geeks, reveals 'worst battery ever

Sam Adams the Dog

About those guitar picks....

Will Fender Heavies do, or do I have to slim down to Mediums? (Just askin'....)

Torvalds frustrated at missing simultaneous release

Sam Adams the Dog

You can read about it in your bible.

"Windows 3.11" -- that's a bible verse, isn't it?

Linux 3.11 must then be the second coming. Behind schedule, as they tend to be.

Hallelujah, praise the Lord, and Amen, anyway.

So, who here LURVES Windows Phone? Put your hands up, Brits

Sam Adams the Dog

Can't you just call it?

@Vociferous "the only way to access the phone from another devices is via the worst, most insultingly poorly designed and misfeatured, piece of software I've ever had inflicted on me"

You mean you can't just call it?

Customer service rep fired for writing game that mocks callers

Sam Adams the Dog

That is very unfair

He has a good point, irregardless.

El Reg contemplates the ultimate cuppa

Sam Adams the Dog

As in all else, Orwell is correct.

When my master was a grad student in chemistry in the '70s, his advisor once asked him which is better: adding tea to milk or milk to tea. He had no idea. The advisor said, "You should always add milk to tea, because then the tea will heat the milk up immediately and if the milk is just beginning to go bad, the proteins will denature and curdle. You will know it right away. If you add tea to milk, this may not happen and you could unwittingly wind up with a sour cup of tea." So the Royal Whoever They Are are in the unenviable position of being wrong for the right reason. And Orwell is of course sound on the subjects of strength and sugar. Let us drink to him -- tea, or something stronger.

Infographic: The road to desktop virtualisation

Sam Adams the Dog

Infographics don't suck, but....

i'm only a dog, but this infographic looks pretty good to me. The question i would have, though, is how the list of "hurdles" was created. In His company (my owner's that is), provision of applications directly to the end user via virtualization has been impeded by poor performance of the virtualized applications, especially in IO, and has been abandoned. However, virtualization of back-end services has been successful. It seems strange that the above hurdle was not presented as an option to the respondents.


Microsoft's futurologists virtualise the poor

Sam Adams the Dog

The truth behind the virtual beggar

He is most likely a front for a multinational company trying to make a quick buck in order to become just solvent enough that the gummint will give them billions to avoid bankruptcy....


Android bakes bitter 20th birthday cake for Linux

Sam Adams the Dog


That Wikipedia table is for computers visible from the internet. The next table down in the article is for servers sold through commercial channels. Windows is way ahead of Linux here. Dont' forget that this second category includes servers whose only function is to serve hoards of workers with Windows desktops... so they run Exchange, various Windows services and, these days, slews of VMs.

Server vendors and the dead hand of commoditisation

Sam Adams the Dog

And furthermore...

... "flash cache" is not onomatopoeia. It's rhyme.

Steve Wozniak ready for return to Apple

Sam Adams the Dog

Perhaps you should bear in mind...

... that the ' even more renowned Cupertinian cofounder who also goes by "Steve"' probably ain't gonna be around much longer.


P.S. Still, it seems like a long shot.

Why is ILM such a failure?

Sam Adams the Dog

Anything for sale implying "lifecycle" is useless

i'm only a dog, but for example, whenever anyone tries to sell me on "total cost of ownership", i know right away that i can't afford it.




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