I never knew that (Score: 1)

by in XBMC is being renamed to Kodi on 2014-08-08 13:16 (#2SA)

I never knew the X was to do with the Xbox, I first heard of XBMC when people started using it on the Raspberry Pi, and naturally I thought the X meant X11 like many other unix-based graphical things.

Re: Still No Usable GUI Really (Score: 1)

by in Linux is awesome except for: on 2014-06-10 15:25 (#21N)

I find the need is just as strong in Windows to dive for the command line. There are quite a few tasks if you're administering an active directory network that really can't be done in the Windows GUI.

The real problem with Windows is it *still* doesn't have a native ssh daemon in 2014 and the only effective way to administer a particular server is through a graphical rdp connection.

Re: Bad decisions (Score: 1)

by in Linux is awesome except for: on 2014-06-10 15:21 (#21M)

I'm not sure what all the hate for Gnome 3 was about. I've used Debian for quite a long time, and when Debian 7 came out it shipped with gnome3 as the default desktop. It took me all of half an hour to get used to and it seems to work well and doesn't get in my way. Granted, being a Debian user meant I missed out on perhaps any early horrors Gnome 3 had, but to be honest I find it a very competent desktop and have felt no desire to go back to a Gnome 2 like interface (in fact I always make sure the 3D drivers are working so I get a proper Gnome 3 desktop if I set up a new machine).

Re: GSM = Useless in Most of the US (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Preorders start for the Firefox OS Phone on 2014-05-28 11:03 (#1XR)

Apple did that (deploy a GSM-only phone in the US - the first iPhone was GSM only) and was a wild success.

The problem is not whether they are using GSM/UMTS but that they are now against two fully entrenched platforms (iOS and Android) and several minor platforms (Windows Phone, Blackberry etc) and it's going to be difficult to enter with a new smart phone platform against all the entrenched competition. As such because their slice of the pie will never be anything other than tiny, it's probably best to develop the hardware for the most widely used world standard (GSM and its descendents) rather than a minority US-only standard.

Re: In my experience - Sinclair/ZX Microdrives (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in The worst storage media of all time on 2014-05-20 10:55 (#1SC)

I had a Rotronix Wafadrive. It wasn't any better than the microdrive. Most the carts seemed to fail after about half a dozen uses.

I bought a second hand QL at a fair (for £5) in the late 1980s, and the microdrives on it were actually surprisingly reliable and I never had a cartridge fail on that machine.

Re: Zip wasn't that bad (Score: 1)

by in The worst storage media of all time on 2014-05-20 10:53 (#1SB)

When zip drives were a thing, floppies were pretty reliable. It's only more recently they got very unreliable (in around 2001-2002, it was pretty common for floppies to work for a single use only). Older drives are still fine, I have a Tektronix digital storage scope with a floppy drive (and I keep a computer with a floppy drive around), and if I ever need to transfer a screen grab off the scope the drive always works, and captures I grabbed 3 or 4 years ago are still perfectly readable using the older 3.5in drive in the computer.

The problem with robots... (Score: 1)

by in The age of robotic warfare has begun on 2014-05-19 13:04 (#1QN)

The problem with things like drones and robots is they make war too easy to wage. When you don't have to worry about the political fallout of your young returning in body bags, it's much easier to start a war. This is already happening with the drone attacks.

Local exploits (Score: 5, Interesting)

by in Patch out for Dangerous Linux Kernel Vulnerability on 2014-05-16 09:36 (#1N9)

Also don't think you can blow it off because it's "only a local exploit". All it takes is a (otherwise fairly harmless if the kernel bug was not there) vulnerability in something else that could give an attacker an avenue to get to a local exploit remotely. It happened to me a few years ago. Fortunately, when the attacker did hit my server (via a buggy PHP application), I had actually patched the kernel vulnerability they tried to exploit so they got nowhere (but left some evidence as to who they were).

Re: Success? (Score: 1)

by in Dogecoin wallet hacked on 2014-05-15 13:06 (#1MR)

I meant PayPal. But I guess eBay and PayPal are all part of the same thing.

Success? (Score: 1)

by in Dogecoin wallet hacked on 2014-05-15 13:05 (#1MQ)

I'd so like a cryptocurrency to become successful at doing what a currency does (Bitcoin isn't it, it's far too volatile and by its design will end up getting hoarded), perhaps Dogecoin or similar may eventually be it -- because good riddance eBay.

Amstrad PCW (Score: 1)

by in WordStar and Old Software Too Good to Stop Using on 2014-05-14 09:37 (#1K2)

I don't use one, but every so often someone in one of the retro forums I frequent will find an Amstrad PCW that someone still uses every day. (Amstrad made these in the 1980s as basically wordprocessor appliances - they were inexpensive all-in-one machines supplied with a daisywheel printer and word processing/spreadsheet software. The screens are green phosphor monochrome, and capable of MDA-resolution mono graphics but the word processor software was entirely text mode. They were Z80 based and also ran CP/M, and people even wrote some games for the system).

Probably for the same reason. They are straightforward, robust, free of distractions and if all you need to do is type letters and perhaps do the odd spreadsheet and other things that a small business might need to do, they may still be enough.

Dumb TV (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Watching a Smart TV? It's watching you, too. on 2014-05-12 09:03 (#1H3)

When I went shopping for a new TV at the start of the year, I deliberately only considered 'dumb' TVs. The plan was to add the 'smartness' by using a spare computer I had. The computer does much more, and all the smart TV user interfaces have either had truly awful user interfaces or not supported something I wanted (meaning the computer would be needed anyway). The other issue is that it's likely that in a few years time a smart TV will be pretty out of date in what it supports - you'll have a perfectly good display but with this useless lump of 'smart' (complete with terrible user interface and security vulnerabilities). The computer however can stay up to date much more easily.

The slashdot beta has been good for something! (Score: 1)

by in Pipecode source released on 2014-05-08 12:14 (#1FY)

The Slashdot beta has been good for something then, it's given someone an itch to scratch :-)

The Pipedot design I think is better than the current (non-beta) Slashdot and of course miles ahead of the beta. It's clean, the information you want to read is all easy to see and all that good stuff - and we get out of it code for a discussion site that's not the monumental pain in the ass that is Slash.

Thanks for opening up the source. I might never use it on one of my own sites but at least I know there's this option should I ever need to go that route.

Retro (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in The Lure of Retro Computing on 2014-05-08 12:05 (#1FV)

The joy of retrocomputing is that the computers are straightforward, and it's easy to make new add-ons for them (low bus speeds mean you only need a breadboard and whatever kind of connector the computer uses), and while you can do that kind of thing with an Arduino, the nice thing about the old machine is the built in keyboard, BASIC interpreter, and it will drive a TV screen.

Also the classic games. I'm a member of a Spanish retrocomputing organization ( and we hold a couple of regular events each year, one in Bilbao (at Euskal Encounter), and the other in November at the University of Zaragoza as part of the week of engineering and architecture. The November one is particularly interesting since the local schools bring their classes for visits, and we have a room set aside for classic gaming with a couple of arcade cabinets and about 20 or so classic computers and consoles. The teachers have trouble dragging the kids away from the games - and these kids all grew up with the XBox 360, PS4, Wii, modern PC gaming etc. It really goes to prove the old adage that it's everything about playability and less about flashy graphics.

I also run a stand at Play Expo in Manchester (England) each October, mostly with Sinclair Spectrums, and it's great to see parents teaching kids to play Manic Miner and Chuckie Egg. Since it's a whole weekend event I often see the kids coming back for repeat visits and trying to beat their old high scores. The thing is these older computers are completely open, very tinkerable, and a lot of fun.

I've designed an ethernet card for the ZX Spectrum, and we've also run tournaments (with prizes!) at Euskal Encounter with a 4 player LAN game (a tank driving capture the flag team game) which was a lot of fun. Here's a video of the event:

Re: 2016 (Score: 2, Funny)

by in How America Celebrates Pi Day on 2014-03-17 12:56 (#M7)

3/14/15 at 9:26:54

Re: DDoS (Score: 4, Insightful)

by in Temporarily Offline? on 2014-03-12 11:24 (#GZ)

And that's too bad, the site design on Pipedot is I think much more useful and it's based on a newer (and possibly more maintainable) codebase.

Re: You right click the windows button - mouse over shut down windows - *click* (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Windows Finally Gets a Shutdown Button on 2014-03-10 16:17 (#CS)

Ah, Server 2012, in other words Windows Server Tablet Edition.

What possessed them to use Metro for any part of a server OS GUI?

Violins? (Score: 1)

by in Windows Finally Gets a Shutdown Button on 2014-03-10 16:12 (#CR)

>viola! Quiet gaming room!

On a point of pedantry, what does a stringed instrument a little bigger than a violin have to do with it?