* Posts by Epobirs

175 publicly visible posts • joined 14 Dec 2011


Falling NAND prices to drive NVMe SSD uptake, say industry watchers


If I had a request to upgrade an M.2 NVMe drive, this would be part of the price I'd charge for the job. When the new drive was in place, the old drive would go in the enclosure, formatted, and become a very fast external for the client. Though a lot of the time, clients don't care about the old part and just tell me to keep it. Which means the next person who has the need gets it done for a lower cost as the equipment is already paid off.


Seems like the loser here is Optane, which is currently getting business from caching hard drives. As 1TB NVMe drives become affordable for mainstream use, more and more models are going to forego having a 2.5" drive bay. I can see laptops starting to have two or more M.2 slots. Most will stay empty but will be a useful option for those ordering or upgrading for high end use. Something like a big gaming laptop might have four or more slots, with some of them limited to SATA to work within the limited PCIe lane availability until PCIe 4 reduces the needed lanes for each NVMe device.

DRAM, bam, thank you Sam: Like a Flashbolt from the blue, Samsung flaunts its fastest RAM


Anyone with an idea of how to achieve this without compromising another critical performance aspect would likely find many interested companies wanting to purchase a license. I don't think it's a lack of interest problem.


The cost would probably not be a good match but it would be very interesting to se what this could do in combination with something like an AMD APU that is highly constrained by RAM performance. For something like a game console it should be quite nice but again probably too costly.

'Your computer has a virus' cold call con artists on the rise – Microsoft


I recently noticed a distinct change in character of these calls. It may just be incompetence or it may be a new level of arrogance.

In the past, it was nearly impossible to get the scammers to say the word Microsoft, as in "I've never heard of a 'Windows company'. Who is your actual employer or who are they contracted to for this purpose?" As I understand it, representing themselves as Microsoft or agents for Microsoft ups the ante on the sort of criminal charges that can applied. Recently though, I've gotten a few calls that follow the familiar script but actually claim to be Microsoft calling.

Meet the Frenchman masterminding a Google-free Android


Maps is a pretty important one. I've pretty much given up on the navigation software that came built-in on my Toyota. It's so rare that it produces a useful result that it gets ignored in favor of the phone on my lap on most occasions. The difference in a system driven by a massive remote infrastructure vs. one that must be completely contained within the car (though it does get traffic data) puts the car's version at a crushing disadvantage. Fifteen years ago, having a navigation system that ran off a laptop and a few GB of data was amazing but now I've come to expect so much more. At a price that may be greater but far less apparent than a simple monetary fee.

America's comms watchdog takes on the internet era's real criminals: Pirate pastors


The author seems to be confused about why the FCC exists in the first place. Or the idea that an organization can do more than one thing at a time.

Hijack wireless mice, keyboards, with $15 of kit and 15 lines of code


Re: There is a reason for...

Not true. The Best Buy house brand, Insignia, sells a USB keyboard for $9.99 and a mouse and keyboard set for $12.99. The mouse sells for $7.99 by itself. I recently bought several of the sets for a client who has a specific need for widely spaced keys due to the impairment from a stroke making his typing moves much less accurate. A wireless Logitech model had previously been of great help but because it was aimed at certain markets was lacking a full cursor and edit key cluster to reduce the width.

The Insignia keyboard, although of lesser build quality for a shorter lifespan, has the same spacing and a full-size layout. The price is so low that he doesn't have to worry about leaving it behind when he travels.

Order it online and select store pickup. That will make them figure out where it is on the shelves.

Wikidata makes Wikipedia a database. Let the fun begin


Isn't this what Wolfram Alpha is already supposed to have done?

Yelp minimum wage row shines spotlight on … broke, fired employee


So most companies in the same area pay much better, you say? It would seem the choice is obvious: get hired by one of those companies. Unless, perhaps, you aren't very good at your job and the lowest paying positions are all you can get. Talia Jane seems to be one of those lowest common denominator workers who cannot accept that she is incapable of earning at the level needed for living where she desires. Most of the far better paid technical workers I know whose jobs are in San Francisco live well outside the city because it is simply unaffordable.

Many companies in such expensive areas keep their support operations far, far away, in place where the cost of living is far, far lower. This is in recognition that these personnel are never going to earn at the level required to make even commuting a substantial distance viable. The personnel doing these jobs don't operate under the fantasy they can live in big fun, exciting city with an education that draws zero interest from those with lucrative positions to fill. This is hardly a unique facet of the high tech world. I can recall my twenty-something elders complaining about similar situations back in the 1970s.

I've done phone support and hated it. Not just that it paid lousy but also the job itself was just miserable. I'm currently under-employed and struggling financially. I could get another of those phone support gigs tomorrow but I'm not even looking at such items in the listings. Some people are good at support because they have the right personality, much as some people are well suited to teaching slow children. I do not and I know if I did this again for six months I'd end up suicidal or a serial killer. Maybe both.

Fortunately, there are other jobs for which I qualify but my region is very well stocked in that skill set, so finding a permanent full-time position is difficult. But I'd rather struggle along with freelance stuff and part-time gigs than knowingly accept a position I know will be concentrated misery from start to finish. The current trend towards a lack of good jobs for unskilled workers (and yes, in most of the field an English degree makes you unskilled) is only beginning. I expect unemployment to only grow over the next few decades and become one of the consuming issues of my lifetime. Overpopulation won't be a problem due to lack of food and other resource but because a major portion of humanity is simply surplus to the needs of the civilization coming our way.

If you got Netflix for Miss Marple, you're out of luck (and a bit odd)


You need a service and hardware that supports local storage. I'd rather give it a few minutes to buffer or even download the whole thing at my connections full speed than rely on that same connection operating flawlessly for an hour or more.

This is where using something like a PS4 or Xbox One will have advantage. Amazon is leading the way in supporting this and their latest generation of hardware has slots for memory cards, unlike their predecessors.

Alternately, you could torrent the item to watch reliably and go through the motions of streaming it so that the owners gets their piece of the action on the subscription.

Microsoft's Windows 10 Torrent-U-Like updates GULP DOWN your precious bandwidth


Should be very effective.

For a long time, one of my favorite ways to test a big data pipe is to torrent the latest version of a Linux distro. It's a much more visceral and real world experience than going to a speed test site. Seeing an ISO come across in chunks of ten megabytes or more (my current connection tops out at 13 MBps) is very engaging and so much faster than going to any one source. At the same time, watching the peer behavior shows that no one peer is expending a major chunk of bandwidth.

Applying this approach to insuring critical patches get out there even if the original source is swamped seems like a natural.

How much of one year's Californian energy use would wipe out the drought?


Another factor is the water that is simply thrown away. Our sewage treatment plants produce extremely pure water that is just dumped into the ocean in all but a few locations. If the water from all the treatment facilities in California were all sent back to agriculture and residential use, it would put a big dent in the cost for creating and running a desalinization infrastructure.


UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends' friends


There is a reason Group Policy exists

Any domain operator that falls victim to the above described maneuver deserves what he gets. This should be readily controlled by GP and would hopefully default to disallowing access to SSIDs that can see the domain resources. This is what guest SSIDs are for.

Cortana threatens to blow away ESC key


I've got this bridge for sale

If you believe they'll eliminate the ESC key, I've got some investment opportunities to offer...

This is going to be just another dedicated extended keyboard item that goes unused by a major portion of owners, due to force of habit as much as anything else. I've have had four laptops to date with dedicated media playback control keys and I'm lucky if I remember their presence 1 out of ten times that I want to manipulate the playback.

HP haters: Get ready to rage against THE MACHINE 'next year'


Re: How will that work....

It won't. Part of the project is the development of an OS designed from the ground up for a completely NVM environment. They claim they will have a Linux based simulator for this available long before the hardware ships, so that developers can wrap their heads around the changes and get some application work underway before The Machine is a shipping product. We'll see.

Meanwhile, there are so many new technologies being incorporated into this it seems impossible that anything like the intended product will ever come to pass. But that isn't necessarily failure. Many of these technologies, taken on their own, would be huge money makers. Most obvious is the memristor memory. Even lacking an NVM oriented OS, a memristor product with performance and density competitive with DD4 could get away with being a bit more costly due to the value of its non-volatile nature. The advantage to mobile devices alone would be a very profitable market.

How serious HP is about all of this stuff happening in one box is hard to see. They may be delusional or it may be purely PR. But at least they're trying to bring something new to the world. Even if it kills the company the work will be there for somebody else to pick up the pieces.

One USB plug to rule them all? That's sensible, but no...


In real life...

This just isn't going to come up much in real life. Systems and peripherals equipped with Thunderbolt will continue to be significantly more expensive than run of the mill USB-C systems and peripherals. The 3.1 performance is a substantial upgrade that more than suffice for most people who aren't dealing in really massive loads, like high-end video editing. Hopefully Thunderbolt will have more of a presence than FireWire managed but I suspect this will come about with Thunderbolt being absorbed within USB and announce again down the road as USB 4.0. Once again, only the power users will have to think about it and eventually the stuff that really gets widely used is simple enough for most.

It might be good if there were a standardized GUI tool that looked at the machine (a branded PC can have the info with meaningful images preloaded) and showed the user what ports there were and what each supported, as well as what each was doing at the moment, if anything.

Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?


Re: Insider here

Or... something is strange about your setup, because I have no such problem in my household network involving multiple NAS boxes and and PCs, nor have I seen it in two other locations testing Windows 10. Are you experiencing this in a domain managed network or a simple LAN?


Much ado about nothing

This only applies to multiple desktops, a feature which will be used by a small fraction of the overall installed base. Seeing as the Insider group represents a generally more sophisticated set of users who care about features much of the general public finds obscure, that sample was actually a fairly valid way to decide on the matter. You cannot even put the question to the great majority of computer users, as the answer will simply be "Wha?"

Intel adopts 40Gb per SECOND USB-C plug for Thunderbolt 3.0


Re: Square peg round hole

It's a bit late for that as USB 3.1 is already a done deal. But it could be the basis for USB 4.0, keeping the plugs and cable consumers are just starting to adopt.

Candy-cane optimism tastes sweet in Disney’s Tomorrowland


I've seen the same mistake repeated by over a dozen writers in the past week. Tomorrowland is not a ride. It is a themed section of the park and includes many rides and non-ride attractions. Some of the most memorable parts of Tomorrowland decades ago didn't involve movement but rather were hints of the future. More like the World's Fair. In fact, many exhibits first appeared at the World's Fair and became permanent installations at the Disney park, like the Bell Labs stuff. It may seem silly today but back in 1975 playing Tic-Tac-Toe against a computer on a video display was very impressive. It was the first direct interaction with a computer for millions of people.

Streaming tears of laughter as Jay-Z (Tidal) waves goodbye to $56m


I realize I'm older than the target demographic for the service, but when I saw the lineup on that stage I told another person nearby, "I'd pay a one-time fee to never hear most of them ever again."

Sony nabs cloud gamers OnLive, administers swift headshot


I just don't see the value of Playstation Now. For a year of the service you could buy a used PS3 and a good pile of games. It will always work whether your connection is fast or slow or even out of commission.

Al Franken to FBI: We need MORE revenge smut arrests


There is already well established law in most US states and other nations regarding when you can record someone without their knowledge or consent. Nudity or sex need not be a factor. Recall the history when Linda Tripp recorded her phone conversations with Monica Lewinsky about her experiences with the then President Clinton.

The reason new law is being proposed here at all is because these cases are all involving recordings made with the full knowledge and consent (and being of sufficient age to legally give consent) of both parties at the time. The age of consent means you should possess the maturity to appreciate the potential repercussions of your actions. Which means this is a not a straightforward legislative proposal. If done badly it could supply a rationale for people to change their minds about a variety of things and make the other party criminally liable for something that was not a crime at the time. The slope is already there. No need to pour oil on it.


Re: Recently re-elected.

No. This is a guy whose first election hinged on a box of ballots mysteriously 'forgotten' in a car's trunk until the numbers were really close.


It's really simple. Never pose for a picture or video you wouldn't want seen by the entire world. Everybody show have this drummed into them by the time they hit puberty. It's just a modern part of the birds and bees lecture.

Robot Overlords: Tween babysitting fodder with no in-jokes for the adults


My first thought when I saw this on a torrent site was, "Ben Kingsley is really bad with money or has very strange taste."

Elon Musk plans to plonk urban Hyperloop subsonic tube on California


Re: Secure transport system?

Not to mention to the problem of riding in anything that operates in a Collision Domain.

Revival of fortune: Mad Catz Mojo Android gaming micro console


Re: UK users getting screwed on price?

GameStop lists it for $125 but doesn't appear to actually stock it anymore. none for online purchases and the inventory checker indicates none in stores within 100 miles. As that includes most of Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange counties in Southern California I'm inclined to think they've largely passed from US retail.


Android Gamepad support list

Not sure how frequently this is updated but it may come in handy for any considering such a device.


Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned


Remarkably naive. The people selling food stamps for cash are generally junkies who will forgo eating for their fix. Of course they don't get full value.

'Linus Torvalds is UNFIT for the WORKPLACE!' And you've given the world what, exactly?


They just don't get it. The job is benevolent dictator, with the emphasis on dictator. If you cannot deal with an environment that deals solely in ability to deliver, go somewhere else. There are numerous company jobs downstream of where the kernel work happens that can afford to worry about each others' feelings.

If you want things to progress without the core code base being under the thumb of a single corporation, it has to be this way. Leaders lead.

Proxima and Ultima: AI, hard sci-fi and multiverse – All good. Romans – not so much


The Romans were already explorers. That is why there was a Roman Empire. They'd go out exploring, like what they saw, declare it theirs, and send in some Legions to explain it with extreme prejudice to those already living there.

Docker part 4: Microsoft CAN'T ignore it. Aux armes, citoyens!


Re: Rendered obsolete by miniature mongrel poodles

Well, isn't that where Microsoft is going with its app store being opened up to all sorts of apps, not just WinRT? Docker could be a very convenient function for them to integrate.

Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'


She should make another Senate or House run before aspiring so high. Zero experience in elective office is a huge negative. The last person to even come close was Ross Perot with vast resources and far more buzz generating (for good or ill) policies ideas. Given, he was also a third party but it's hard to imagine either of the two major parties giving a shot to someone, again, who has never held office or even a major appointed position.

Is it just here in CA or is there a severe lack of decent political talent everywhere?

T-Mobile US goes gaga for Wi-Fi calling, AT&T to launch in 2015


Re: Why?

It isn't unusual at all. Cellular service in my home's vicinity is very spotty but the WiFi off my cable modem service is quite good. Unlimited voice is useless if you cannot connect. And data is never unlimited if you read the small print. Using WiFi when available saves the data allocation for when you need it.


Re: Unbelievable..

My T-Mobile Galaxy SII has always had it. It's been a lifesaver because the signal in my neighborhood is generally lousy but the cable modem service is quite good since they rolled out the DOCSIS 3 support.

The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?


Affecting everybody? I don't think so. It hasn't been a problem on any of my machine nor has any of several dozen clients reported any such problems. Obviously, there is something conditional at work here.

Facebook goes TITSUP across WORLD! Who will look at your cousin's baby NOW?


I hadn't noticed.

Facebook went away and I didn't notice. Does this mean I have a life or lack one?

Chap builds rotary dial mobile phone


But does it come in a shoe?

Maxwell Smart had one of these on his right foot back in the 1960s.

In 1991, I was working as a messenger. Whenever I made a dropoff I needed to call in to the dispatcher in hopes there would be another job nearby. This one job took me to the HQ of the Los Angeles Unified School District, near downtown LA. The place felt very anachronistic. All of the furniture was ancient and each desk had a rotary phone. When I went to call in to the dispatcher I found I couldn't immediately remember how to use the kind of phone I'd grown up with. I had to stare at it for about 30 seconds before it finally came to me.

Crucial MX100 256GB SSD: Cut-throat competition in flash land


Installed several of these

I've installed several of these for clients recently. They've been very happy with the combination of price and performance. Unfortunately, I justify the cost upgrading one of my own laptops yet. They feel so painfully slow now but I just don't use them often enough to allocate the funds.

The strange thing is that all of my clients wanting new PCs of course want them to have SSDs for boot and app drives but pretty ever brand I've checked either doesn't offer it or only offers SSD as an option on high end expensive systems that my client have no interest in buying. They aren't gamers. They want their tax and accounting software to load fast.

Yet another reason to skip commercials: Microsoft ad TURNS ON your Xbox One


Re: These corporations won't be happy...

Neither. A TCP baby. See 'The President's Analyst' from 1967. Way ahead of the curve.



When did you last misplace your vocal cords?

The value of voice commands is you're unlikely to lose the remote or deal with multiple remotes. For most people, their voice is always available and doesn't need new batteries at inconvenient moments.


Something for the next firmware update

IIRC, the Kinect mic can pick up stuff that is outside normal human range. I'd suggest they need a 'magic' tone, to be inserted at the beginning of an ad like this, that tells the Kinect to not process possible voice commands for, say, 30 seconds. Then that tone could be used for new forms of abuse, such as ads that don't let you switch away to a game.

Build a more foolproof device and they'll soon produce better fools.

Good news for gamers who don't leave the house: SanDisk debuts 24/7 Extreme PRO SSD


Re: @ AC OP

The SATA-III interface is the bottleneck. The real action in SSD advancement is in more direct connections to the PCI-e bus. Anything that sits on SATA cannot compete on sequential throughput when that has already been maximized.

What data recovery software would you suggest?


If you mean data recovery as opposed to a backup system, I've gotten a lot of use from R-Studio.


I use it with a USB 3.0 / eSATA docking station for 2.5" and 3.5" drives. Very worthwhile investment if you do this sort of thing regularly.

IBM PCjr STRIPPED BARE: We tear down the machine Big Blue would rather you forgot


Re: still have one of these

Ah, you beat me to it. Interesting bit of trivia: The Tandy 1000 was originally developed as an Atari system by Tandon, to be marketed as the Atari 1600. It was dropped by Atari not long before Warner Comm. sold it off to the Tramiels.

Help a hack: What's in your ultimate Windows XP migration toolkit?


Re: What's in your ultimate Windows XP migration toolkit ? @ AC

Since one of the objectives is to help the community members acquire job skills, it was likely decided that they needed to be up on the most widely used software in businesses, as opposed to something very similar.

Some users can easily go between MS Office and OpenOffice but most get confused. I was recently involved in a migration where the fleet of aging XP systems were replaced with Dell refurbs running Win7. Most of the old machines had the pre-DRM Office 2000 but that doesn't work on 64-bit Win7. A few had Office 2003 and PC Mover handled migrating that, though you have to make sure the Outlook users have Word as their editor because Outlook 2003 doesn't get along with IE 10/11 for editing.

Anyway, until there was a budget for MS Office of some more recent generation, the new machines all got LibreOffice in hopes it would cover most needs. It turned out to be a huge pain as they had a bunch of frequently used documents that LibreOffice doesn't render correctly. These users are mostly nurses and have very little interest in learning any new software. Free is nice, except when it doesn't work correctly and is confusing to those used to other products.

Barnes & Noble's Nook freed from Windows, WinPhone apps pledge


MS Reader was a pioneering effort but it was released years ahead of suitable hardware. By the time some good device were appearing Microsoft had lost interest and failed to form the right partnerships to push the LIT format.

If Microsoft really wanted to have a serious influence on ebooks, they should make EPUB a native format for Word. Atlantis Word Processor does this and is worth the $35 for that reason if you have the need but Atlantis has some serious deficiencies of which the lack of tables is the most crippling for many kinds of projects.

If Barnes & Noble had been smarter about the problems on the development side, they would have pumped some money into Sigil, which is a great tool for formatting EPUB files but needs a lot of man hours put into it to make it a really professional tool.

Your 'funny' cat pics are weighing down the web, so here's a better JPEG encoder from Mozilla


Whatever became of...?

any of the other numerous wavelet and other compression schemes that were demoed endlessly, usually via browser plug-in, in the 90s but never adopted by any major browser as a standard? The tech to do far better compression has been around for a very long time and considering we're now in 2014 there must be some of it unencumbered by patents.

I can remember some of the plug-in demos on Pentium II machine running Win98 were a bit slow to decode but the images were remarkably small compared to the JPEG version. Any current platform should be able to easily eliminate that slowness.

Globe grabbin,’ sphere slammin’, orb-tossin’, pill poppin’... Speedball


Oh the memories. I worked at the company who distributed this game in the US, Cinemaware, though I'm not able to remember the brand name the company had for the import line. Speedball was the star attraction of the lot.