Direct Link (Score: 1)

by in Paramount streams 175 movies online on 2016-09-22 13:17 (#1VMB6)

Here's a direct link to the actual "Paramount Vault", which is actually just a collection of Youtube videos.

Hmm, given how much these corporations claim that Youtube is the most evil company in existence, I would have thought they would host the files themselves...

On the other hand... (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Google play forces updates like Windows 10 on 2015-12-30 14:01 (#Z57B)

I'm no fan of Google taking this action, but I wonder if this is a "shot across the bow" aimed not at users but at the carriers, a first step towards Google becoming the provider of system updates rather Verizon, T-Mobile, et al. Android is suffering because the carriers almost never update the OS for a phone. This results in an extremely fragmented platform, and one that is extremely vulnerable to security issues. Apple products do not suffer from this because Apple is the provider of the system updates: if your hardware supports the new OS, you can install it, regardless of your carrier. It may be that the action described in TFA is Google is attempting to put themselves in that same position.

Great Updates (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Site Update on 2015-10-19 13:02 (#QYF8)

All very nice updates and it's great to see this site isn't abandoned, even if it isn't very traffic. I can appreciate it from a technical standpoint even if I don't comment that often. I'd love to see the back-end used by other sites but even if it never is more fully utilized, Pipedot stands as a testament of your skill. Great job.

Not the price, the content (Score: 1)

by in TV Is Dying, Broadband Declining on 2015-02-27 14:03 (#3YE5)

Like many, I dropped my cable TV subscription some time ago. But it wasn't so much the cost that drove me away but the content. There wasn't anything I wanted to watch anymore. The interesting channels that originally made cable so exciting (History, TLC, Discovery, SciFi) had become so genericized that I might as well have been watching broadcast TV. More and more channels were resorting to "reality" shows, in which I have absolutely no interest. The news shows were just talking heads dealing superficially with the issue-of-the-day while ignoring more troublesome news. The movie channels kept showing the same films over and over again. And, oh God, the advertising! The marketing was becoming ever more discordant and shrill; it was like surfing the web without an ad-blocker.

So I took stock of my watching habits; was there anything cable TV gave me that I couldn't do without? News and weather? I had stopped turning to the TV for that long ago; the web tended to be more timely and offer deeper* analysis. Movies? My DVD collection was fairly extensive and I preferred being able to watch a movie on my schedule rather than waiting for it to roll around on cable. TV shows? Well, there were a handful I would miss but most could be replaced either by streaming from the web or simply waiting for the seasonal compilation to hit retail in DVD format. And I wouldn't be inundated with adverts while watching them.

I quit watching TV because they no longer had anything to offer me. That I was saving money in the bargain was just a nice bonus.

If TV - whether it be broadcast or cable - wants to survive as a medium, it needs to start offering people a worthwhile product. Stop pushing the cheapest possible programs ("reality" TV), diversify your lineup (e.g., a History channel that actually is about history, and not pawn shops), and severely cut back on how many adverts intrude on the watching experience. Otherwise more and more people are going to realize your offerings are crap and look for something better on which to spend their money.

* and seeing as how shallow a lot of web-based reporting is, that's a pretty damning statement on TV news

Re: 30 ft? (Score: 1)

by in Researchers discover why birds fail to avoid collisions with aircraft on 2015-01-16 14:13 (#2WQR)

30 meters, 30 feet, it's all the same. This isn't rocket science, after all.

But in the end, this whole study seems like somebody trying to win an Ig Nobel prize. Birds crash into planes because the planes are moving too fast for them to get out of the way? Whodathunkit?

Why? (Score: 1)

by in NASA envisons an airborne colony on Venus, before Mars on 2014-12-26 14:37 (#2WDP)

What's the point of floating cities on Venus anyway? I mean, if the population is going to be stuck in a tin-can anyway, you might as well do it in a tin-can that is /going/ somewhere or can do something useful. At least on a Mars colony you nominally have easier access to local resources, but - except for some highly polluted atmosphere - Venus doesn't even offer that. Focus on L-4 and -5 space platforms, asteroid mining, even interstellar generation ships; all would be more productive uses of our resources than bobbing about in Venus's atmosphere.

I've never been a fan of planetary colonization anyway; short of finding a 1-in-a-million life-bearing planet, we're probably better off remaining in space; we're going to be stuck in artificial habitats no matter where we go, and we can find the same resources in solar orbit.

Life has spent 2 billion years crawling out a deep gravity well; there's no reason we have to immediately dive right back in.

What has it got in its pocketses, my precious? (Score: 1)

by in Dollar value of the gadgets/stuff in my pocket(USD) on 2014-11-01 12:58 (#2TVK)

It's just a common dumb-phone I picked up while I was out traveling on business, It is probably not worth anything; why do you ask?

Missing Options (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in My first gaming system was: on 2014-09-30 13:07 (#2T10)

No love for the Coleco Telstar Arcade?

No, probably not. I've never met anyone else who even knew what the damn thing was, much less had one (to be fair, until recently I couldn't remember the name of the thing either; I had to scour the Internet to find out what it was called). The consoles themselves contained very little circuitry; all the real work was done by chips embedded in the triangular cartridges.

I shouldn't be too down on the machine though; limited as it was, it made me look more seriously at personal computers instead.

Now what? (Score: 3, Funny)

by in LibreOffice 4.3 gets good marks for useful improvements on 2014-07-31 13:26 (#2QW)

So, the project is becoming feature-complete and has good clean code. What next?

I expect we'll start seeing frequent, unnecessary and unwanted (by the users) updates to the GUI soon.

For bonus, maybe they developers will start wedging advertising in the program.

Re: Awesome!! (Score: 1)

by in All I Want for Xmas Are Wolverine Claws and Magnetic Shoes on 2014-05-24 13:12 (#1WF)

Honestly, the gadgets themselves don't impress me that much; they are bulky and don't really do anything innovative. They are things people could have done for years but haven't because, frankly, the disadvantages by far outweigh any any advantages (although the sparking claws were a nice touch)

But you gotta admire that guy's enthusiasm.

Zip wasn't that bad (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in The worst storage media of all time on 2014-05-19 13:25 (#1QQ)

I was an early adopter of Zip drives. They weren't terrible devices, although they did have problems, largely stemming - I think - from quality control issues down the line. They gained a bad reputation because of this but in most cases Zip drives were quite decent.

Of course, looking back we wonder how we ever managed. Putting aside the reliability issues, Zip's now-laughable 1MB/s transfer rate, 100MB storage and price of $10/disk seem too slow, too small and far, far too expensive. But it has to be remembered that - when released - most computers had hard-drives measuring in only hundreds of megabytes, and the primary method of data-transfer was still floppy disks. CD-ROM burners cost thousands of dollars and flash-drives were just a gleam in some mad inventor's eye. As a replacement for the notoriously unreliable 1.44" floppy drive, the Zip drive was a god-send. Even when CD-burners started coming into the market, Zip retained its usefulness; for a long time, it was faster to write to Zip than to optical, and it had the advantage in that you could erase and re-write to the media as many times as needed. But Zip was never really designed to compete with optical; it was intended as a replacement for the floppy and - in my eyes - it served its purpose admirably.

Eventually I too gave up my Zip drives (just as I gave up cassette tapes, floppies and CD-Rs); technology marched on and better alternatives became available. But I still look fondly on my little blue drives.

I think I'll wait (Score: 3, Funny)

by in Move over MD5. Here's Blake2 on 2014-03-22 13:23 (#RH)

I think I'll wait for Blake7. It will be futuristic and revolutionary.

One way or another (Score: 5, Insightful)

by in Should companies offering online services be required to maintain them? on 2014-03-08 14:35 (#B0)

Barring actually running the servers themselves, the publishers should provide their customers a way of hosting their own servers. This should be baked into the code from the beginning; "if PUBLISHER_SERVER=DOWN, then ENABLE_LOCAL_HOST_SUPPORT". Or this functionality can be added by a patch held in escrow until the game reaches end-of-life.

Of course, publishers will never go for it. Aside from adding complexity to the code, they reap too many benefits from controlling the online server, not least of which is that it enables a forced obsolescence into their product. They don't WANT the customers to keep playing the same game year after year; they want you to buy the new model.

Publishers get away with this because the industry have managed to convince consumers that they do not OWN the product, but merely license it. Customers are merely paying for the privilege of temporarily using the product so long as the publisher allows it. More, they have been known to actively pursue hobbyists who try to add in this missing functionality. It's one of the great rip offs of 21st century.

I have games from 20 years ago that - with the correct hardware - I can still boot up and play. But some games that are only a few years old I'll never be able to play again.

Re: Tried logging in with a non-existing user name? (Score: 5, Interesting)

by in Expandable Comments on 2014-03-07 14:46 (#AQ)

'luser' is a word with quite a long pedigree. It dates back to the '70s at MIT and has since been adopted by IT professionals and hobbyists, especially by those who have to deal with users on a regular basis. Although it's tongue-in-cheek meaning has not changed, it has become less a comment on the users themselves and more of a shibboleth used within the community.

Myself, I tend to use 'luser' as referring to the record itself, as opposed to the 'user', who is the actual person.

It's great! (Score: 5, Insightful)

by in Corporate World excited about desktops in the cloud on 2014-03-03 15:34 (#91)

Desktops in the cloud are great!

... Except when the network is down. Then nobody can do anywork at all.
... or when the cloud provider suddenly goes belly up, leaving you stranded.
... or when the cloud gets hacked, and all your corporate secrets get stolen
... or when a government secretly requests those same secrets for the benefit of its corporations
... or when the cloud provider sells or uses for its own benefit those corporate secrets
... or when the provider suddenly changes the infrastructure, leaving you with a product that no longer suits your need
... or when existing infrastructure didn't meet all existing requirements to begin with, forcing you to kludge together some sort of workaround
... or when the provider increases the price year by year until the savings that going to the cloud initially brought you have vanished.

Yeah, but aside from all that, desktop clouds are great!

Off topic, but... (Score: 1)

by in Netflix bows under to Verizon, too on 2014-02-25 03:02 (#5Y)

There really needs to be a preview for when you submit a story. I hope all those links worked ;-)

Re: The sample page looks great (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Confessions of an iGoogle User on 2014-02-24 04:07 (#5K)

I didn't hear about Pipedot until today, although I am an active user/reader of a number of the other alternatives. It definitely needs more mention. Be sure to submit a story about its existence to other sites (normally, the creation of a news aggregator would not be news, but given the recent slashdot fiasco it is an interesting addendum to that story).

I was never an iGoogle user and never saw the point of similar sites, but I love the Pipedot homepages and now I'm a convert. It's probably because it has such a limited amount of chrome; it's all content, no gloss.

New Bigger Drives = Cheaper Smaller Drives (Score: 2)

by in Toshiba Announces a 5TB Hard Drive on 2014-02-23 16:50 (#55)

Yes! I needed to upgrade my 2GB drives.

'Cause it's not just the storage that needs to be upgraded, but the backup as well. That doubles the cost. So the lower the cost the better.

Yay for the constant advance of technology!

Re: I have many problems and this is one of them (Score: 3, Interesting)

by in Some emerging open-source secure messaging systems on 2014-02-23 16:42 (#54)

Indeed. The application software is only one of the many interfaces that may be vulnerable. There's also the operating system, the hardware beneath that, the communications infrastructure, not to mention the guys on the other end of the communication. And even the most robust systems are dependent on the math that makes the encryption possible, and much of that was produced by the very agencies we've come to distrust.

Still, I guess it's all baby steps at first. Refusing to make any advances because they won't completely solve the problem won't get us anywhere either. And anything to make the task more difficult - even if it doesn't make it more impossible - for eavesdroppers is welcome.