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Old 01-31-2013, 01:46 AM   #51
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I don't know if it's still the case, but not too many years back NASA was hoarding 486 CPUs for space missions, because they are an absolutely known quantity: ALL the bugs are known, so they won't surprise you with some new glitch a few million miles out, not exactly convenient for repairs or updates.
Until everyone who is familiar with those known bugs retires, or dies, or forgets, and you need to go find Clint Eastwood to fix your damn Soviet nuke satellite.

It's always a balancing act between what's well-tested and what's sustainable, between what works well now and what may work better in the future.

IMO, it's a horrible idea to rely on any toolchain that new developers aren't learning right now.

ETA: I don't care how stable it's been. If it breaks tomorrow, how easy is it to fix it? How easy is it to find someone willing to support it? If the answer isn't "very easy," then it's time to switch platforms.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:56 AM   #52
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These machines are just sitting on shop floors, running their specialised software, and no one has any problems with them. They'll chug along for years until they finally break, and that's when the problems start because there's nothing in place to fix those old systems.
A friend used to work in the garment cutting industry. Their cutting machines ran off XTs, and nothing newer would work. So for years (up to about 1994 or so) he ran around snarfing up every discarded XT system he could lay hands on.

I'm rather of the "If it ain't broke.." school of computers myself, tho... my oldest still in everyday use, I built in 1998, and it runs Win98.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:00 AM   #53
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Until everyone who is familiar with those known bugs retires, or dies, or forgets, and you need to go find Clint Eastwood to fix your damn Soviet nuke satellite.
One of those systems is presently out past Pluto. Last I heard, it still works (and still sends data back at, I think it was 300bps).

That's the real point -- when repair is costly or impossible, you're better to go with the known issues and known solutions than the uncertain future issues that can't be fixed cuz it's way out of reach.

[Sources: people who worked at JPL.]
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:14 AM   #54
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One of those systems is presently out past Pluto. Last I heard, it still works (and still sends data back at, I think it was 300bps).

That's the real point -- when repair is costly or impossible, you're better to go with the known issues and known solutions than the uncertain future issues that can't be fixed cuz it's way out of reach.
No, the real point isn't that "known" often isn't as important as "easy".

If the choice is between a thoroughly proven but deprecated platform that 1 guy somewhere knows inside and out, and a tested-but-unproven newer platform that 1000 developers are learning every day, 99% of the time you're better off going with the latter.

If you're NASA, maybe you can afford to keep that 1 guy around forever.

But what usually happens is that someone forgets that guy was responsible for this piece of software, he leaves at some point, they keep using the software, one day it breaks and no one knows what to do, someone is hired to hack together a solution that isn't sustainable but Works For Now, it keeps chugging along, then finally it stops working altogether, it's a mess of spaghetti code now that no one can fix, and you fork over the cost of completely rewriting it while losing $100 for every minute it isn't working. All of which could have been avoided if you just hired someone to write a new version for $10 before it broke.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:24 AM   #55
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If you're NASA, maybe you can afford to keep that 1 guy around forever.
It doesn't matter if the last guy who knows the system dies the day after launch. When you can't call it back and can't fix it anyway, it had better be right the first time, since there will be NO future fixes.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:33 AM   #56
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It doesn't matter if the last guy who knows the system dies the day after launch. When you can't call it back and can't fix it anyway, it had better be right the first time, since there will be NO future fixes.
A system which will never need to be supported in the future is not a very typical use case.

I'm talking about the other 99% of the time.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:57 AM   #57
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All of which could have been avoided if you just hired someone to write a new version for $10 before it broke.
That's an engineer talking and at some level I completely agree prevention ends up being cheaper than fixing.

A development manager will tell you each dollar you put into making that software exactly as it was for the customer, just for the sake of having clean code in case something happens, is a dollar lost. Because that dollar doesn't benefit the customer. Because that customer may change its mind completely about the software and send its development into an unforeseen direction. Because the cleaner software architecture may not be able to support what the customer demands.

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Old 01-31-2013, 03:03 AM   #58
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That's an engineer talking and at some level I completely agree prevention ends up being cheaper than fixing.

A development manager will tell you each dollar you put into making that software exactly as it was for the customer, just for the sake of having clean code in case something happens, is a dollar lost. Because that dollar doesn't benefit the customer. Because that customer may change its mind completely about the software and send its development into an unforeseen direction. Because the cleaner software architecture may not be able to support what the customer demands.
I think that's also a different use case.

The guy with a whole cupboard full of BBC Micros isn't going to change his mind.

And choosing "do it fast" over "do it right" always comes back to bite you someone in the ass. Always.

ETA: I guess that's the problem. It doesn't always bite you in the ass, but it's guaranteed to punish someone later on. Maybe long after you're no longer involved and don't have to worry about it anymore.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:42 PM   #59
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In yesterday's discussion with my colleague (who has a significant chunk of management experience), he mentioned that a lot of the problem from his POV is that fixing a problem for good is more expensive in a single year that letting it limp along for that year.

You can tell management it'll cost 2000 to write new software that'll work for years to come and reduce support costs next year, or 1,500 every year to keep the old software struggling along... they'll pick the latter, because it fits into their yearly budget better.

Their focus is on meeting the budget, not future-proofing the systems. Someone else can sort it out when the system finally breaks down.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:21 PM   #60
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In yesterday's discussion with my colleague (who has a significant chunk of management experience), he mentioned that a lot of the problem from his POV is that fixing a problem for good is more expensive in a single year that letting it limp along for that year.

You can tell management it'll cost 2000 to write new software that'll work for years to come and reduce support costs next year, or 1,500 every year to keep the old software struggling along... they'll pick the latter, because it fits into their yearly budget better.

Their focus is on meeting the budget, not future-proofing the systems. Someone else can sort it out when the system finally breaks down.
I think this is true and prevalent almost everywhere you go. Meeting the budget is more important than anything. It is good to hear the explanation coming from someone with experience.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:55 PM   #61
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As the old jape goes:

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Pick any TWO.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:38 AM   #62
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Hi. You guys all seem pretty smart and were able to help others with their overheating problem. I have a 2007 Macbook Pro. It is getting so hot that I can't keep it in my lap and if my arm hits the side of it, it burns. Today hit an all time low (or high I guess since it's the temperature) when the part of my charger that connects to the laptop plastic melted before my eyes. Any advice on how I can get this machine to cool down? I am just a student and really can't afford to replace it.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:58 AM   #63
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Hi. You guys all seem pretty smart and were able to help others with their overheating problem. I have a 2007 Macbook Pro. It is getting so hot that I can't keep it in my lap and if my arm hits the side of it, it burns. Today hit an all time low (or high I guess since it's the temperature) when the part of my charger that connects to the laptop plastic melted before my eyes. Any advice on how I can get this machine to cool down? I am just a student and really can't afford to replace it.
It's possible to open it up and clean the fans, but it's a seriously delicate pain in the ass.



You could take it to an Apple certified repair place and have them do it if you're not comfortable disconnecting and reconnecting the ribbon that controls the keyboard and trackpad.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:02 AM   #64
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Wow if the connector melted that sounds dangerous. I would recommend taking it to a service shop and having someone take a look it. There are some third party Apple shops out there if you look in google maps. In some cases you may be able to ship them the laptop.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:54 PM   #65
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Hi. You guys all seem pretty smart and were able to help others with their overheating problem. I have a 2007 Macbook Pro. It is getting so hot that I can't keep it in my lap and if my arm hits the side of it, it burns. Today hit an all time low (or high I guess since it's the temperature) when the part of my charger that connects to the laptop plastic melted before my eyes. Any advice on how I can get this machine to cool down? I am just a student and really can't afford to replace it.
This is past the point of "overheating" and well into the realm of "fire hazard". Get it professionally cleaned and repaired, don't be trying home-fixes with this. Run, do not walk, or you WILL be buying a Whole New Monkey.

Side note: I've seen two older Macs catch fire (one tried to catch the house on fire too) due to inadequate cooling. This passive-cooling BS needs to go away before it kills someone.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:26 PM   #66
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Side note: I've seen two older Macs catch fire (one tried to catch the house on fire too) due to inadequate cooling. This passive-cooling BS needs to go away before it kills someone.
You realize no recent Macs use passive cooling, right?
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:41 PM   #67
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You realize no recent Macs use passive cooling, right?
I should hope not (I don't normally do Macs and haven't had my hands inside one in some time). But I've seen it on random stuff where it has no business, so I swear at it whenever the opportunity arises.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:55 PM   #68
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I should hope not (I don't normally do Macs and haven't had my hands inside one in some time). But I've seen it on random stuff where it has no business, so I swear at it whenever the opportunity arises.
Well, iPads and iPhones do use passive cooling.

But I don't want a fan on my phone.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:03 PM   #69
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Well, iPads and iPhones do use passive cooling.

But I don't want a fan on my phone.
That might be overkill, yeah Tho with the way phones are growing into tablets... not for long!
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:08 PM   #70
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That might be overkill, yeah Tho with the way phones are growing into tablets... not for long!
For sure nowadays people are talking 1080p, Quadcore and 2 gigs of ram. They are playing the specifications war. I tend to prefer iPhones and Blackberries. They do more with less.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:11 PM   #71
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For sure nowadays people are talking 1080p, Quadcore and 2 gigs of ram. They are playing the specifications war. I tend to prefer iPhones and Blackberries. They do more with less.
Yer talkin' to a troglodyte who didn't get a cell phone til a year ago, and then only cuz I had to due to idiocy beyond my control, and then it was the dumbest/cheapest one I could find. Now there's more less for ya.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:34 PM   #72
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For sure nowadays people are talking 1080p, Quadcore and 2 gigs of ram. They are playing the specifications war. I tend to prefer iPhones and Blackberries. They do more with less.
I still don't know a phone out there capable of reliably software-decoding 720p 10-bit H.264, let alone 1080p.

But I guess not everyone's an anime fan.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:57 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by kuwisdelu View Post
But I guess not everyone's an anime fan.
<runs away screaming>
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:59 AM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuwisdelu View Post
I still don't know a phone out there capable of reliably software-decoding 720p 10-bit H.264, let alone 1080p.

But I guess not everyone's an anime fan.
I was referring to screen resolution
http://www.phonearena.com/phones/HTC-DROID-DNA_id7498
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