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  • Giant rollable TV

    And from the not completely off topic dept.

    I'd want to have it measured for what gasses might be coming out of it (many don't smell but do pollute air). I have experience with cheap china made SATA & SATA power cables - they offgas something very smelly that permeates plastic bags almost instantly and leaves fingers tingling upon touching it. No wonder the shop was almost giving them away (typically similar item cost 6-10x more there). I bought them anyway as I read a claim that the offgassing might end in 3-5 years, so I want to test that.

    Latest story I read on this front was about aging copper clean water pipes being replaced  with plastic ones (perhaps by blowing new pipe inside the old - meaning they had to use some soft material). I'll let you guess what the water test results were... The softness in plastics is typically from added chemicals that aren't completely inert. I'm sure that for some price there's a solution to these problems but until proven in independent lab with most sensitive tests, assume worst when it has something to do with chemistry. To add legitimacy to this concern I'd refer you to view the clip about formula 6076767 in Get Smart s2 e28 (one of my favorite scenes in that series, comedic perfection).


  • What's wrong with MS technet blogs?

    There's all sort of IT-articles on technet and sometimes I need them offline for reference. Now if I try to save in IE a page as .MHT it works for blogs.msdn.com, for blogs.technet.com however, when the saved page is opened it is blank except for this line:

    For the particular page I just was attempting to save, a workaround I made earlier that edits the saved MHT and strips all javascript fixes the issue. A checkbox to load/save MHT without javascript would be nice...


  • My name is fanbaby and I have a problem. 24 season 5, that's all

    I too loved it when it aired but in retrospect there were some annoying things going on that I tolerated on the first view - if I were to rewatch a similar series, I think I'd prefer rewatching Burn Notice over 24 as its annoyances felt minor in comparison and the show eventually transformed into more continuous plot (almost 24 style 'over the topness' and cliffhangers), which was refreshing from typical shows that keep their format the same all the way up to cancellation.

    This sort of shows that have a lot of production work in them tend to be in competition with what similar things were seen in past, so its not surprising that the new 24 2014 season has been seen as a bit underwhelming.

    If I had to make predictions out of thin air:

    After Mythbusters has drilled viewers of these sort of action oriented tv shows with how real explosions look, I wouldn't be surprised if the "next step" for the next action spectacle tv show was to go more in that direction. For instance, one possibility would be to composite real explosions of mockups with digital photography of the real objects.

  • Seems like metro on the desktop is a done deal

    Without trying to guess whether it's relevant anymore or not, in general I believe that with options to choose from, the developers would "flock" to the platform with performance characteristics in mind. eg. with programming languages/runtimes things I always looked were a) do I like how it reads/looks b) and does it perform good enough for what I may or may not want or need to do at some point. Throughput, latency and jitter / timing accuracy are all equally important characteristics in all things I am interested in, like audio and games. I recently ordered parts for a new desktop system and the overriding factor in selecting motherboard was the latency figures - perhaps in practice insignificant but as perception overrides facts and resale value / popularity (related to liquidity down the line) was one concern, I compromised on not having any PCI slots to gain lowest DPC latency of the motherboards compared.

    Point? Even if the latency or some other perf characteristic doesn't *really* matter for most users or devs after the platform is a success, it may just be one of the things that matters very early on if we assume that many developers do perf characterization. This is where tech marketing/comparisons etc step in - if you can convince that a particular perf figure is "key" then perhaps you could gain those early adopters support. And so it's not that surprising that vendors are doing various things to optimize for some benchmarks (like disable throttling during benchmark or lower IQ etc).

  • Laughs of the day

    Sounds like the real deal...

    On more serious note, this is perhaps my favorite jazzy interpretation atm. Punchy basses, smooth swing and that tight head nodding shuffle type feel too.




  • Surface Pro 3 Annoyances - Some advice needed

    I'll steal your thunder and drop my preliminary 8.1u1 unedited, likely hard to repro, first impressions here after couple weeks of use in order to evaluate whether to use it on my new build (parts just arrived). I found one major hard to repro issue so far. IME switches intermittently from one language to next while writing text in notepad or editing stuff in VS. Doesn't happen in a 7 guest in vmware, only the 8.1u1 host and 8.1u1 guest.

    I'll look these over again when there's some pre-release of next Windows and make a dedicated thread then. (edit: I think Update 1 possibly fixed some of the first ones I made earlier with 2012 r2 but haven't gone through them yet to verify)

    win 2012 r2 first impressions/issues: (! prefix for critical/blocking/so bad usability it just has to be fixed)
    (update 2014/06 - added win8.1u1 impressions)
    issue #1 modern ui menu makes you think 1 key press is needed to get to desired item, and only 1 should be enough in this case
     modern menu apps search : (no search indexer in r2, so the search is very slow (reliably over 170 ms beyond which response starts to feel less instantaneous)
     when you set options:
     +show the apps view automatically when i go to start 
     -search everywhere instead of just my apps when i search from the apps view 
     +list desktop apps first in the apps view when it's sorted by category
     then press win, your focus is on the search box, now type some letters so that something is found in the search. 
     now the UI shows that the first match is active, but when you press down arrow, *that's* when the first item gets 
     active. So if the desired item was found#2, you need to press down arrow *3* times. 
     in win 7 you only needed to press 2?
    8.1u1 when search everywhere is enabled, the first match is active by default, arrow down goes to 2nd match
    issue #2 slow "installed app+control panel+admin tools only"search
     search everywhere is so *slow (where is it controlled what is "everywhere"?) that one wants to use search only apps instead
     *when this is disabled: -search everywhere instead of just my apps when i search from the apps view 
     the "apps only" search is quick to respond, but it won't find stuff in control panel (eg. try typing mou - it won't find mouse settings)
    update: 8.1u1 seems much faster, though have not tried with indexing disabled
    issue #3 hyper-v virtualization vs vmware workstation (verify)
     youtube & 3d perf in guests not comparable to vmware
     copy pasting issues through clipboard & drag and drop to/from the guest when using hyper-v manager and not rdp
    q/wish: how to pass through usb and pci devices to hyper-v guest, so that the devices/drivers are not exposed to host (install drivers only in guest) (vt-d support)
    issue #4 when idle, desktop apps get lower prio? verify if true and how to prevent from happening again: 
     I left a cpu/io intensive console app running on the desktop, then went away, 
     when I came back, it seemed like it was running at background priority or even suspended?
    8.1u1 I saw a cpu consuming installer disappear all of sudden with no input again, could not repro it on 2nd run
    issue #5 when console window is maximized, the row returned by BCL console.windowheight is not the bottom row of the console. trying to update a status line row at the bottom ends up updating at 2/3 of the way to the bottom.
    fix: call Console.WindowTop=0; when WindowHeight changes
    issue #6 annoying horizontal sort for tiles view when pressing win+e, causes icon locations to vary based on window width, not good for desktop with multiple resolutions across computers
    Would also like ability remove the "Folders: desktop, docs, downs, music, pics, vids" from explorer and from under This PC. I want to have my selection of these under Favorites. If this isn't my media PC, I don't want those folders crowding that visually high value upper-left/top-left window estate I could use for more important folders.
    !issue #7 while writing in notepad in english with more than one input method/kbdlayout and keyboard set to non-english, the kbd layout seems to revert during writing. I'm not sure what triggers this, this never happened in 7. there's been some changes to this area of windows incl win+space - but I'm certainly not accidentally pressing that, neither am I accidentally pressing left ctrl+left shift simultaneously - atleast more than I would in w7
    (almost seems to happen all by itself! - this is critical issue). I have legacy bios + apple keyboard driver and vmware installed, that's it - It may be that I am pressing one of ctrl/shift with one hand and the other with the other hand, whatever it is, it sure does not occur in 7. I don't even recall this problem from 2012r2, could be new to 8.1u1)
    todo : test another keyboard and with/without apple driver and vmware
    update: Appears to happen with another keyboard inside vmware 8.1 guest
    confusion: when trying to press altgr 2 to get @, I sometimes press 'right win key' + 2 and it changes to another window - in w7 I don't recall this happening
    issue #8 bitlocker boot password entry: only takes US keyboard layout while manage-bde -password may have been run using another layout
    confusion: pc & devices - corners & edges - allow switching between recent apps?? (default yes) have to test to figure out how this changes the usability, it could have move verbose description
    issue #9 search for DPI turns out nothing. When you do find the text size dialog, it only gives "smaller larger" sort of selection. The 125% 150% 200% stuff is hidden under a checkbox. 
    both of these allow change text size, it's not clearly stated if one affects only modern ui and one desktop or what:
    appearance and personalization - display, pc & devices - display
    issue #10 search for lang brings "switch input language" - pressing enter to select it doesn't launch any kind of configuration ui
    wish #11 install experience on 8.1u1 could be much better for a computer that's never intended to touch internet. The setup freezes for long time on several occasions just after it asks about network/ms account stuff.
    issue #12 when I press win, it lands me to either tiles or apps. And for keyboard user those work very differently cmp to w7: 
    you can't use "press win+arrow key combo" to navigate and launch a new instance of something pinned to start menu.
    I'm used to switching to existing instances from taskbar, not from start menu as happens in Win8u1
    I also tried to see if I could make the combos same as in 7: pin cmd prompt to start menu.. right click and change properties.. except there's no properties available in the right click menu
    issue #15 If clicking a link in IE10 to go to a site results in multiple invisible navigation attempts (as seen in "right click the back button history"), and the previous host in the history is unreachable, the back button does not work. In IE8 this could be worked around by adding the unreachable (or undesirable as in case of 3rd party click trackers) host to restricted zone. In IE10 adding the host to restricted zone does not restore back button functionality.
    issue #16 regression from 7: cannot create custom event log entry that shows all events from last hour - fails with error Data is invalid or query is too long (13)
    issue #17 ie10, regression from ie8: google's top menu bar does not show (+you search images maps play etc) unless google is added to compatibility sites
    test: ie11 and compat updates
    issue #18: I want 7's start menu back, it's just hell to try find anything in that mess of tiles that all look the same because the different colors draw me to the color and make me ignore the icons. I prefer colored and detailed icons and one color background like in android phone - much quicker to find what you're looking for
    issue #19: (C9's BitFlipper noticed this also) "The 'Generic PnP Monitor' prevents sleep mode for some reason, and after I installed the "driver" for it, the sleep option became available. Might be the same issue."

  • Does iOS or WP have something equivalent to XPrivacy on Android ("API muting")?

    (note: I don't really know anything about WP's privacy/security so if MS has some existing answer to the concerns of apps having broader than necessary access to user data, feel free to elaborate)

    It should be possible on WP atleast for cases where apps can be sideloaded (I read this would require paying for registering as developer or something like that?), and then it's just a matter of how much needs to be emulated to make the app think it's running in non-emulated system. However I see that as there's potentially a lot of work to do here; unless the platform is perceived as stable and has enough users and possibly a similar "privacy climate" as in the Google ecosystem, 3rd party devs are less likely to start working on some complicated emulation system.

    At this point, for MS, a possible strategy (I haven't thought if it'd be good or not in long term) would be to offer things that aren't offered in the other platforms without rooting - power users and devs might be more keen on the WP if they felt it had best control of their data of all the platforms. All the Android privacy managers seem to require lot of permissions or rooting, and from what I read Google so far seems unlikely to offer such "API information muting" as explained in OP by default. So it's a possible differentiator / USP for WP.

  • Does iOS or WP have something equivalent to XPrivacy on Android ("API muting")?

    The term "faking data" used by these privacy managers seems non-sensical. I doubt these privacy managers are actually generating fake data(?). They are just doing what any smart person do, going all  "no comment" when the apps requests something, instead of the less subtle approach of denying API access, triggering a possible runtime failure. A better term I came up with is "API muting", similar to muting a channel in a mixer console, instead this time the smartphone platform has easy to use mixer console for muting the "api data channels" available to apps.


    "XPrivacy can prevent applications from leaking privacy-sensitive data by restricting the categories of data an application can access. XPrivacy feeds applications fake data or no data at all. "

    My smartphone experience so far is that I bought a cheap Gingerbread device few years ago and haven't installed any apps on it because I found it difficult to find apps that did not require permissions that were obviously not necessary for the purpose I intended to use the app for.


  • One of the best PC games on Steam sale, but I guess it doesn't work?

    I played World In Conflict in the beta, it was great and ran fast on my old laptop (Mobility Radeon 9700). But later I looked at the RTM version on a desktop (8800 GT) and I'm not sure did Nvidia hit it with driver optimizations or what but the great graphics in the beta were really bad and the game ran really slow. (I didn't try the beta on Nvidia setup so hard to say, the ground textures shouldn't be smooth/blurry mess but highly detailed - probably some LOD issue)

    Now if that wasn't bad enough, the game is only multiplayer and the playerbase swindled away. So now I caught that it's on Steam summersale but quick look at the reviews suggests it doesn't work at all. So a missed opportunity to reinvigorate the multiplayer.

    I'd still like to play it but it really needs three things : 1) needs to work 2) Nvidia needs to focus on gfx quality in drivers and drill it home to the the tech sites to start looking at output quality and not just speed 3) a supersampling hack that renders the game internally at high res and downscaled it to monitor res should help too (tell the game you have 4K all the way and then downscale in drivers to 2K - I'm still puzzled how this actually can improve the graphics but I've seen the proof and also Heard the proof that such tricks work - there's synth that does something similar and it really sounds more like a hardware synth than a typical software synth - it's called PG-8X and you need to click Settings and mess around with the Oversampling to hear the difference - set the oversampling and downsampler filtering both to 4-8 for best effect depending on the patch)


  • SpamSpamSpam

    I think I outlined several solutions to the spam long ago on this site feedback forum... If there's a way to export all my messages then I might be able to find them. (Ok, I'd like ability to do that in any case because I don't really trust that MS is as good in data safe keeping as usenet is because all it takes is for some bad move by the board and the company goes bust and my messages are gone - this can't happen in usenet as the data is backed by multiple companies)