* Posts by fromxyzzy

96 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Jan 2019

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Loongson CPU that performs like 2020 Core i3 makes its way to Chinese mini PCs

fromxyzzy

Re: Probably not exactly a bargain.

It'll be interesting to see how heavily they lean into the RISC-V side of things going forward, since MIPS seemed to hit a wall the last time Loongson tried to push their own CPUs.

Given RISC-V's open architecture it may be more workable, but also given how wildly configurable RISC-V can be in implementation it could wind up being an overly complex boondoggle.

No joke: FTC boss goes on the Daily Show and is told Apple tried to block her

fromxyzzy

Re: USA Free Market

I don't know, was it Yorkshire Tea? Because I wouldn't wash my ball hair in that swill.

Majority of Americans now use ad blockers

fromxyzzy

How do you even use the modern internet without an adblocker?

Trying out Microsoft's pre-release OS/2 2.0

fromxyzzy

Re: Pints' on me Brian

It was an extremely common ATM OS well into the 00's, eventually replaced with XP. You used to see them crash once in a while.

Work for you? Again? After you lied about the job and stole my stuff? No thanks

fromxyzzy

I'm imagining there's a shovelware netbook somewhere named Kentucky Gentleman.

AI comes for jobs at studio of American filmmaker Tyler Perry

fromxyzzy

He is truly on the forefront of the sector of the entertainment industry that could be replaced with an LLM and some editors, since his movies and TV shows appear to be made using the mad libs methodology.

Open up a previous script, either his or someone else's, and swap some nouns and verbs. If it makes sense, shoot it and send it straight to streaming. It already doesn't cost enough to make to catch the eye of a Zaslav who would cancel it for the tax write-off.

Staff say Dell's return to office mandate is a stealth layoff, especially for women

fromxyzzy

Re: "sexist in favor of females"

It's always been a bit shocking to me when I remember that schools often require students to take a class in trigonometry, but statistics is optional.

Best class I took in high school, use it every day.

fromxyzzy

Re: "sexist in favor of females"

"Dig up, stupid!"

Tesla's Cybertruck may not be so stainless after all

fromxyzzy

Re: Stainless?

Americans defined aluminum and named it, the Brits just ret-conned it decades later.

PiStorm turbocharges vintage Amigas with the Raspberry Pi

fromxyzzy

Re: SunOS

This brings back nightmares, have you made sure the battery is removed? If those caps weren't replaced in the last few years they've definitely popped.

We put salt in our tea so you don't have to

fromxyzzy

Re: Pointless if potless

They exist, but are only marginally faster than stovetop kettles and considerably more expensive than the chunk of aluminum that comes with the set of cheap pots and pans you get when you move in to your first apartment/home. Kettles also don't get used as much in general.

More common in recent years if you accept those Keurig machines with a separate hot water spigot as an electric kettle.

fromxyzzy

Re: Pointless if potless

I have an electric kettle in the US, purchased a few years ago when I lived in a very small apartment with an ancient electric stove (rusting and older than I) and didn't want to leave the traditional aluminum kettle on the hob 24/7/365 but wanted to be able to boil water quickly. The electric kettle gets water to boiling faster than the hob and wastes far less radiant energy, since the stovetop kettle is incredibly inefficient, but it's rare to find them outside of hotel rooms because they're comparatively expensive given that the vast majority of the time when one needs to boil water it's for cooking, not a beverage or cup noodle.

As a matter of fact, my uncle gave me a ridiculous copper-gilded stovetop kettle for Christmas last month that he'd picked up at some discount store like Costco or Sam's Club. Didn't have the heart to tell him I went electric years ago and had to clear some space in a cabinet for it to rest in for a few years before it goes to charity.

I make my tea the NATO way except in the cup because nuts to your teapots, and I use Twinings because all of the available alternatives are awful.

Firefox 122 gets even more competitive with Chrome on translation

fromxyzzy

No more of those stupid damned Flatpaks or Snaps? Finally. Those things are an XKCD-style abomination of pointless 'standards' that aren't.

The rise and fall of the standard user interface

fromxyzzy

Re: Motif?

I didn't really experience the era firsthand, but you (or someone else) may know: why have I read people hating on OpenLook? I've used it on Solaris 2, along with DecWindows on VaxStations and Alphas and Motif on a variety of systems, I grew up using Gnome 2 and KDE back in the 90s, and of all of them, OpenLook was the nicest and most coherent GUI on *nix in the 90s. Was it really awful under the hood or something?

Researchers confirm what we already knew: Google results really are getting worse

fromxyzzy

Re: Crowd Sourcing

Youtubers are already angry that Google won't provide them with metric data to show this isn't exactly what's happening. Since they make their money on length of video views, an AI that jumps through various videos to hit them means they get fewer meaningful (i.e. profitable) views.

fromxyzzy

Not sure I've ever seen a more appropriate article on this site for this phrase

"Not a bug, but a feature."

This is how they make their money, it's the tiny piecemeal search results that add up in to the huge tons of search 'grain' they sell to people. Except unlike with physical grain, search engines never let you actually see the grain or know anything about it other than general figures so the buyer never learns that it's 90% useless gravel. Some people have realized that you can even make money with the gravel, others just keep buying it for fear of missing out, but only the most unsavvy people would actually be fooled by it.

It's something youtubers have begun complaining about, because when you're that focused on getting your metrics right to make sure you're not getting screwed, it begins to become obvious when you're missing the truly necessary data to do so.

How Sinclair's QL computer outshined Apple's Macintosh against all odds

fromxyzzy

Q68 owner

Hah, interesting that you found the Q68. I purchased one from Derek a bit more than a year ago after a few years in the queue, it's presumably one of the only ones in the US. He's a gent, takes time to build batches but he does it for the community. The Q68 is a solid, extremely compact little black metal box, uses PS2 ports for keyboard/mouse and VGA, however it plays happily with a good HDMI converter.

I purchased it out of curiosity, since the QL never made it to the US. I haven't delved too deeply into it but it's fairly obvious that it just didn't have a specialty that would have commanded the loyalty of the Amiga's multimedia capabilities or the ST's rock solid MIDI timing. Add that to the flaws with the original hardware design and if it weren't for the extremely basic design it really didn't have much of a reason to be kept alive by the community. Since it was a simple enough design with off the shelf parts, it made it easy to clone it and re-implement it in ways that weren't really possible with Amigas based on specialty chips.

Kia crashes CES with modular electric vehicle concept

fromxyzzy

Re: They look stylish...

Same conglomerate just launched this: https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a46167503/hyundai-n-vision-74-production-volume-report/

And have you seen their Ioniq series lately? They haven't been shy about pushing concepts into production with their current electric lineup.

fromxyzzy

Re: Standardized

You're not wrong about the past with ICE, but in the present none of these car companies are making their own batteries. The batteries come from a few companies in Asia, and while the car companies have some flexibility in how they design the packaging, they're generally using cells from the same group of makers.

They can differentiate on the electric motors, the energy handling software controls and the car design, but we're already at a point where they're sharing the equivalent of the cylinders/pistons/fuel injection part of an ICE car and tweaking the equivalent of the gearbox and ECU. They're stuck in the position of trying to differentiate their product around the edges.

It's one of the biggest reasons the larger car makers have been apprehensive about getting in to the electric market - they know it's a huge step towards commodification of their product along the lines of washing machines or microwaves, where most people not only won't care about the difference between one brand and another but won't even know that there might be a difference.

What if Microsoft had given us Windows XP 2024?

fromxyzzy

Re: Themes must live forever.

Thunderbird has recently had a big interface revamp because they have fallen for this line of thinking. "We're losing marketshare, it must be because it looks old!" Meanwhile the functionality has been on maintenance mode for a decade and the revamp has brought nothing new on that front.

fromxyzzy

Re: Themes must live forever.

This article had me thinking, actually: The flat 'look' was introduced in windows 8, about 10 years ago, which was about 11 years after the introduction of the 3D look introduced in XP.

What new ugly paradigm will they force upon us with Windows 12 next year, because surely flat is dated now?

‘I needed antihistamine tablets every time I opened the computers’

fromxyzzy

I wonder if there's a timeline that could be collated as to when each major computer company decided to stop servicing computers belonging to smokers.

I know in the brief time I worked at Apple a few years back, there was a very broad rule that said that any computer known to be owned by a smoker could be rejected for repairs due to the 'biohazard' of caked on tar. It was very much understood that you don't really use that unless it's a genuine and obvious issue, but if invoked it was never questioned and the customer was flagged in the system forever.

Bricking it: Do you actually own anything digital?

fromxyzzy

Re: Let's get physical.

You'd be amazed at the low quality of many DVD players, I shopped around for a used dual VHS/DVD-Recorder last year and it was virtually impossible to find one where one side or the other hadn't ceased to function somehow. One of those situations where the later in the production life of the technology you go, the worse the quality you find - VCRs hit a peak around the early 90s, DVD players were just always pretty bad. Best luck you'll have with DVDs long term is with a computer drive as far as I can tell.

fromxyzzy

Re: Did something crazy

Let's be real, all music leads to funding drug dealing.

Plex gives fans a privacy complex after sharing viewing habits with friends by default

fromxyzzy

Re: Why do companies think we care what anyone else is doing?

For a fun few minutes, look up how many expansion packs there are for The Sims.

Revival of Medley/Interlisp: Elegant weapon for a more civilized age sharpened up again

fromxyzzy

Re: Excellent Work !

Oberon: https://github.com/pdewacht/oberon-risc-emu

Lilith: http://pascal.hansotten.com/niklaus-wirth/lilith/emulith/

Xerox Alto: https://github.com/livingcomputermuseum/ContrAlto

Xerox Star/Dandelion: https://github.com/livingcomputermuseum/Darkstar

And for fun, some LISP machine emulators: http://unlambda.com and https://lisp-machine.org/ and https://github.com/jjachemich/linux-vlm

fromxyzzy

Great article, I've poked around with this a few times since I was always interested in Lisp machines when I was younger. Compiles and runs quite well on Manjaro ARM. That they're trying to create documentation for new users is also impressive, comparable to the project to revive MIT ITS and provide info for new users.

US nuke reactor lab hit by 'gay furry hackers' demanding cat-human mutants

fromxyzzy

Re: Idaho National laboratory

Devo did just release a 50th anniversary collection...

Firefox slow to load YouTube? Just another front in Google's war on ad blockers

fromxyzzy

Given Google's, to put it extremely politely, 'opaque' advertising statistics? No, no the advertisers do not.

fromxyzzy

I can confirm, uBlock Origin settings -> Filter Lists -> Purge All Filters -> Update Now is the presently recommended way. It refreshes the filters and they're apparently working hard to stay ahead.

Has been working for a couple of weeks on all of my Firefox installs on Linux, Windows and MacOS. I have noticed start delays sometimes, although not long enough for me to have thought it was anything but Youtube being slow - clearly not having the intended effect because I would never have assumed it was intentional rather than explained by Youtube incompetence.

Want a Cybertruck? You're stuck with it for a year, says Tesla

fromxyzzy

Insurance is already going to be horrific on any Tesla (and most new vehicles) because of the huge amount of tech and safety integration driving up the cost of repairs, and in Tesla's case, the fact that they force you to use their repair shops and have high parts costs for even the most basic bits.

CompSci academic thought tech support was useless – until he needed it

fromxyzzy

Re: Support Computer Science professors

Over the last decade, each time Apple has released updates for MacOS and iOS, some wag or dept of wags has made a point of making minor and wildly unnecessary changes to the location or appearance of some portion of the system or built-in applications that mean that users are often unable to perform the basic tasks they've memorized. This often happens with unexpected, automatic updates weeks or months after most other users have updated and re-learned the new tweaked interface. The only reason I can fathom for doing this is to justify their job, since the changes never improve functionality or ease of use. Windows has begun doing this since Win 8 as well, although in a more confusing way because all of the old things are still there for legacy use and just hidden, pointlessly, behind a much worse new interface, but I've found Apple users (and particularly iOS users) to have more trouble coping with the changes, especially when they don't fix a problem.

fromxyzzy

Re: "supposed expert who turned out to be anything but"

I've done various remote support gigs over the years, mostly tech but some totally non-tech-related, and one thing that I will never get over is the people who call in for assistance and then steadfastly refuse to follow directions or receive the help they called in to request. A five minute fix becomes a twenty minute fix because people won't follow directions.

Apple Private Wi-Fi hasn't worked for the past three years

fromxyzzy

Re: This doesn't excuse Apple's incompetence, but...

Well, the purpose of the feature is to somewhat anonymize access to wifi networks, so the 'exploit' would just be monitoring the MAC address of every device that attempts to identify the network rather than just monitoring every device that successfully connects. If you're already doing that then it doesn't seem like this would be much of a hole because presumably you're also monitoring all of the traffic coming in to range of your network. This whole feature seems like the level of anonymity that one used to get by using a payphone, if the people you're trying to avoid already know where you are then it's a fairly surface-level obfuscation and you still need to use VPN and DNS tunneling and so on to actually achieve some level of data security.

You've just spent $400 on a baby monitor. Now you need a subscription

fromxyzzy

Re: "the sudden imposition of subscription fees"

In my experience from the years before smart meters, they're just going to charge you the difference when they get access to the meter again.

About 15 years ago that left me with a $1000 power bill one month because they hadn't had access to the meter for 20 years and the landlord finally let them in (I had no access either). Which meant a hasty move and never putting my name on the power bill again for as long as I lived in the area.

EFF urges Chrome users to get out of the Privacy Sandbox

fromxyzzy
Devil

The problem is that targeted advertising has never worked, this is Google's biggest secret and everything they do with it across all of their services is part of the shell game of convincing advertisers that their money isn't being wasted on people who will never be interested in buying their product. Look at all the tiny little tweaks they do to Youtube to goose the smallest numbers ever so slightly, just to convince companies that the adverts that play before the latest cat video aren't being shown to people who have no interest in their product, for which they pay by the impression.

Of course, the biggest problem with targeted advertising is the negative effect it has on brands, as we see expressed on El Reg every time it comes up. This is the great secret of marketing departments - a much larger part of the effect of their work is negative than they want to admit, and the great horror that keeps them up at night is how much of it is just totally pointless, wasted and ignored.

Mozilla's midlife crisis has taken it from web pioneer to Google's weird neighbor

fromxyzzy

Re: Sounds just like DEC

Some folks have been having fun of late poking around in the alternate future where we got later versions of Windows for Alpha, some interesting stuff is still out there to be found: https://virtuallyfun.com/2023/05/15/windows-2000-64-bit-for-alpha-axp/

Unity apologizes, tweaks runtime install fees after gaming world outrage

fromxyzzy

Can't put the cat back in the bag. They're going to hemorrhage business now, and it looks like they won't be smart enough to realize their mistake and will react by pushing more nickel-and-dime schemes to make up for it. Que the death spiral.

Microsoft to kill off third-party printer drivers in Windows

fromxyzzy

Re: by 2027 – except for security-related fixes – no printer driver updates will be allowed

2100TN here, 25 years strong and still spitting out sheets.

Google Chrome Privacy Sandbox open to all: Now websites can tap into your habits directly for ads

fromxyzzy

Re: Earth to AlphaGoo:

If you want to get real specific (beyond ublock origin, etc), check out the SponsorBlock for Youtube extension.

Former DEC employees to rally against stagnant pensions post-HP

fromxyzzy

Anyone who has paid attention to what HP have done to their own business over the last 20 years, much less the inherited legacy of DEC by way of Compaq, knows full well that this will fall on deaf ears.

I'd be surprised if they even noticed.

US Supreme Court allows 'ghost guns' to fall under federal purview

fromxyzzy

Re: "suspected ghost guns"

The article really goes hard on the 3d printed aspect but frankly that's a very small amount of the ghost guns being produced. Most 'ghost guns' are literal home made guns, sometimes completely homemade but more often just assembled from parts and fabricating the missing (already regulated) bits yourself.

Most of them aren't the little white plastic things we're thinking of, some of them look very well crafted and nobody is familiar with all models of firearms made over the years. So yes, some can be so well made they can be mistaken for the real thing.

BOFH: WELCOME TO COLOSSAL SERVER ROOM ADVENTURE!!

fromxyzzy
Flame

hmmm

Nobody would ever work on the live server, right? Not intentionally, anyway

fromxyzzy

There's an axiom in the world of music production about expensive instruments and gear: Nobody can tell in a mix.

When you mix it with the rest of the band nobody will care if the guitar cost $200 or $2000.

OctoX is a radical Rust implementation of a very old OS for RISC-V

fromxyzzy

Re: The real hero of this piece

Swear that's the name of a Bloom County character.

Aliens crash landed on Earth – and Uncle Sam is covering it up, this guy tells Congress

fromxyzzy

Re: Alien UFOs

To be fair, that's not remotely true, there are far more prominent socially prominent UFO cultures in Latin America and South America than there are in the US. The US just mines it for media content much more than other english-speaking countries.

Google's next big idea for browser security looks like another freedom grab to some

fromxyzzy

So if/when they implement this, what publishers are going to

1. trust Google enough to actually use their verification and believe that they have no overlapping competitive interests that would make that a bad idea and

2. think that customers are going to put in actual effort to comply, instead of immediately moving on to any available alternative that doesn't make them do extra steps for the same thing?

And given issue 1, how many competing verification providers are going to be necessary for any of this to work? There's no way MS is going to use Google's internal verification, much less Apple.

It sounds like phone-home DRM for web pages, and in the smaller markets where publishers have moved to phone-home DRM verification for computer applications (music software is a very good example, which went hard for subscription-based virtual instruments about 10 years ago) it has frustrated users to such a degree that companies are losing long-term customers due to the background overhead of running a dozen different DRM verification schemes. A similar situation would probably happen to anyone who tries to do online gambling on multiple platforms, with their location verification background apps.

Someone just blew over $190k on a 4GB first-gen iPhone

fromxyzzy

That battery may or may not have burst

So it's Schrodinger's iPhone since nobody sane would open it up to destroy the value?

Linux has nearly half of the desktop OS Linux market

fromxyzzy

Do the BSD folks include MacOS/iOS? It's a lot closer to a traditional BSD than Chrome OS is to linux.

First of Tesla's 'bulletproof' Cybertrucks clunks off production line

fromxyzzy

They're not expensive when said car company buys them, just when they sell them.

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