From Win32 to Cocoa: A Windows user’s would-be conversion to Mac OS X

By | May 26, 2018

Enlarge / OK, technically this wouldn’t have even been possible at the time of this initial article, but here’s Win10, Win8, Windows XP, and Mac OS X (High Sierra) all together. Thanks Parallels. (credit: Parallels)

Ten years ago around this very time—April through June 2008—our intrepid Microsoft guru Peter Bright evidently had an identity crisis. Could this lifelong PC user really have been pushed to the brink? Was he considering a switch to… Mac OS?!? While our staff hopefully enjoys a less stressful Memorial Day this year, throughout the weekend we’re resurfacing this three part series that doubles as an existential operating system dilemma circa 2008. Part one ran on April 21, 2008, and it appears unedited below.

A couple of Gartner analysts have recently claimed that Windows is “collapsing”—that it’s too big, too sprawling, and too old to allow rapid development and significant new features. Although organizations like Gartner depend on trolling to drum up business, I think this time they could be onto something. “Collapsing” is over-dramatic—gradual decline is a more likely outcome—but the essence of what they’re saying—and why they’re saying it—rings true.

Windows is dying, Windows applications suck, and Microsoft is too blinkered to fix any of it—that’s the argument. The truth is that Windows is hampered by 25-year old design decisions. These decisions mean that it’s clunky to use and absolutely horrible to write applications for. The applications that people do write are almost universally terrible. They’re ugly, they’re inconsistent, they’re disorganized; there’s no finesse, no care lavished on them. Microsoft—surely the company with the greatest interest in making Windows and Windows applications exude quality—is, in fact, one of the worst perpetrators.

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DropMix review: Unleash your inner DJ

By | May 26, 2018

Enlarge / DropMix, complete with phone and cards. (credit: Charlie Theel)

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

Trying to explain what DropMix is can prove a challenge. It’s a game, it’s a chunky piece of hardware, and it’s a centerpiece that breeds discussion. But it’s primarily an experience—and one that’s wholly unique.

This product is brought to us courtesy of Hasbro teaming up with Harmonix, the studio behind the massive hit Rock Band. It’s a tabletop game of sorts that facilitates the ad-hoc creation of custom music mixes. If you ever wondered what Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” would sound like when paired with the percussion from Skrillex’s “Bangarang,” DropMix has your answer. What’s surprising is just how effective this piece of technology is.

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Listen To This: BOOM!!!

By | May 26, 2018

What have we done to deserve this???

Blessed with this all-star mega jam!!!!!!

Our favorite females in Spanish language bops have joined forces with Mau y Ricky for a remix of Mi Mala!

Karol G!

Becky G!

Leslie Grace!

Lali!!!!!

We are in heaven!!!!!

This song is the best soundtrack to our holiday weekend!!!

Check it out above!

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Doctor slammed by med board for selling $5 homeopathic sound waves for Ebola

By | May 26, 2018

Enlarge / Listen to that homeopathic energy. (credit: Getty | Ian Waldie)

The California medical board is threatening to revoke the license of Dr. William Edwin Gray III for selling homeopathic sound files over the Internet that he claims—without evidence or reason—can cure a variety of ailments, including life-threatening infections such as Ebola, SARS, swine flu, malaria, typhoid, and cholera.

In an accusation filed with the state(PDF), the medical board writes that Gray is guilty of gross negligence and requested a hearing in which the board would decide whether to possibly revoke or suspend his license.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Gray said he had decided not to contest the board’s allegations, saying it would cost too much money to fight. He added: “Frankly, I think we’d lose anyway.”

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Blac Chyna Claims Kardashian Conspiracy Caused Cancellation Of Her Reality Show With Rob!

By | May 26, 2018

Y’all ready for a good Kardashian konspiracy?!

Blac Chyna is apparently out here claiming through legal documents that her show Rob & Chyna was canceled by E! after the Kardashian family threatened the network that they would take away Keeping Up With The Kardashians unless Chyna got booted. Whoa!!!

Related: Insider Defends Chyna Over Assistant Death

Per TMZ, Chyna has filed documents alleging this act and more, while claiming that season one of her show with Rob Kardashian actually did better than KUWTK in ratings… and season two scenes were already being shot.

But BC says that in January of 2017, a “key meeting” took place between E! execs and the Kardashian family, during which the Kardashians allegedly pressured the network to end her show.

Chyna also claims that the family “falsely claimed” that she had been physically abusive towards Rob.

Of course, the Kardashians have long claimed the show’s ratings just weren’t that great — hence the cancellation.

But Blac Chyna believes there’s a paper trail out there documenting the conspiracy… and she wants in on it.

Related: BC May Face Wrongful Death Lawsuit Soon

That’ll be a fun one to unearth, if it’s true…

What do y’all think, Perezcious readers?! Let us know in the comments (below)!!!

[Image via WENN.]

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The Millennium Falcon is OK, but these pop culture ships make Ars hearts race

By | May 26, 2018

Enlarge / I mean, we’re still in the hands of some master filmmakers when it comes to building moments. (credit: Lucasfilm)

It’s been a good month for ships. Just this week, one of the most iconic vessels to ever clear the Kessel run in 12 parsecs returned to theaters in a very high-profile manner. But May has also brought news the Rocinante may fly again, Trekkies everywhere can finally (virtually) hop aboard the Enterprise-D, and we’ll all soon host a Starfighter of choice on the nearest desk in our lives. If you want to count the ho-hum Block 5 in all this, too, go right ahead.

Seeing a young Han Solo experience all the feels when first laying eyes upon the beloved Millennium Falcon had everyone around the Orbital HQ thinking. What is the ship that still has me over the moon after all these years? We already know Lee Hutchinson adores the Normandy (among others), so this weekend we let the rest of the Ars staff also launch into a liftoff love letter.

Still excellent.

A most excellent (pseudo) ship

Like the title characters, I probably already failed this assignment by not quite following the rules. Technically, my favorite pop culture ship isn’t even a ship. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures was a formative experience for many reasons, but chief among them was the everyday nature of their preferred time-traveling vessel. The phonebooth outside the Circle K epitomized function over form and industry over innovation—with a little chewing gum and plenty of their own gumption, even two obvious idiots could recruit the most brilliant and adventurous minds from across history to help them pass a final San Dimas High School history presentation.

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This Is the Brilliant Voice Behind L3, Who Steals Every Scene in Solo: A Star Wars Story

By | May 26, 2018

Image Source: Everett Collection

As the lights went down in my theater and the first words in Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s intro began to crawl, I was mentally prepared for two things: (1) to potentially fall in love with Alden Ehrenreich and (2) for Donald Glover to steal every scene he’s in. While both of those things happened – I mean, how could they not? – they still didn’t come close to ranking as the best character in the film. Both of them (as well as costars Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, and Paul Bettany) do exceptional work, but it’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s brilliant, enlightened L3-37 droid who saunters off with Solo‘s best lines.

British actress, comedian, and playwright Phoebe Waller-Bridge provides the voice for L3, who cares deeply about both her partner in crime, Lando, and droid rights. She spends most of the movie cracking jokes at Lando’s expense – although they’re done with love, since she swears he has an unrequited crush on her . . . and she may or may not have one, too – as well as leading a droid uprising at a key moment.

In a movie like Solo, which packs in quite a few characters, it can sometimes be hard to make a personal connection to the new faces since our introductions to them run the risk of being too shallow. That’s not the case with L3; Waller-Bridge brings the perfect amount of sharp wit to her feminist, genius navigator despite never appearing on screen herself (she shot L3’s scenes with motion capture).

Solo director Ron Howard couldn’t sing her praises enough, telling Entertainment Weekly that “Phoebe is hilarious and brilliant and really helped bring that character to life in ways that are funny and surprising.” Cowriter Lawrence Kasdan agreed, noting that her performance transcends CGI. “The effect that she will appear in is amazing, but she comes through very strongly even with this astounding [CGI], both her humor and her physicality,” he said. “If you meet Phoebe, she’s one of these people you just fall in love with immediately.”

That her humor is mentioned by both Howard and Kasdan should come as no surprise if you’ve seen any of Waller-Bridge’s past work. She’s the star and creator of Amazon’s deeply underrated dark comedy Fleabag (pictured below), which rocketed her into the limelight. The hilarious series follows a flawed woman (never referred to by name) who is coming to terms with the recent death of her friend while handling depression, her dating life, a failing business, a snobby (but endearing) Type A sister, and a psychotic stepmother. The beauty of the show is how she blends life’s most tortuous, painful moments with awkward, comedic situations, a skill that she brings to Solo.

Image Source: Everett Collection

The 32-year-old star also serves as the showrunner for BBC America’s critically acclaimed thriller Killing Eve, and she has had roles in Broadchurch, Crashing, and The Cafe. According to her IMDb page, her next role will be in a short called Careful How You Go, which tracks the lives of three “malevolent women.”

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Dinosaur-killing impact + volcanoes kept the Earth hot for 100,000 years

By | May 26, 2018

Enlarge / “Wait, this global warming thing is gonna last how long?!?!” (credit: pxhxk)

Mass extinctions aren’t fun times. There’s a reason (usually more than one, actually) species disappear in droves. That makes untangling these reasons a challenge. The geological crime scene investigation is tough given that clues can be elusive after millions of years, and the events are complex.

The extinction that wiped out (most of) the dinosaurs, for example, saw both a massive asteroid impact and long-lived volcanic eruptions that covered most of what is now India in lava flows. While the impact would have darkened the sky, bringing permanent winter for a number of years, the volcanoes’ injection of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere would have produced a rapid swing in the warming direction when the sky cleared.

The record of that warming in the geologic record isn’t very good, though. The problem has been to find a suitable climate record in rocks that were deposited fast enough to show relatively short time periods in detail. To obtain that sort  of record, a team led by the University of Missouri’s Kenneth MacLeod scratched through rocks in Tunisia for crushed up pieces of fossil fish bits.

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Mr. Toad’s Mild Ride

By | May 26, 2018

That year I lived alone. My life was changing in dramatic fashion, and among the many consequences was that I had to find a new place of my own. In need of something to smile about and inspired by the notion that “somebody in this glossy town must have a great guest house for rent,” I bought a copy of The Hollywood Reporter, and sure enough, back in the classifieds I found just such a place. It was an extremely agreeable one-bedroom apartment under the main house in one of the choicest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The actress Mariel Hemingway, I found out soon after, had lived there before me. For months I collected the mail that continued to arrive for her and delivered it to my landlords upstairs for forwarding.

Being alone, suddenly I had an unusual amount of free time on my hands (an amount that, unfortunately, could not be filled entirely by collecting the letters and catalogs addressed to the granddaughter of one of the greatest writers of the 20th century). So … in the evenings I started walking. A lot. And it was on one of those walks past the billiard-table lawns and portes-cochères of my newly rented neighbors that I first spotted the vehicle that would turn out to be the focus of my walks for the better part of the ensuing year.

It was not, as you might’ve guessed, a red Ferrari or a diamond-encrusted Rolls-Royce. Far from it. The machine that caught my eye was a humble Ford F-100. That might not sound like a rig that would cause a professional car critic to pause for a longer look, but this particular truck was vintage and in exceptional condition for its age (I guessed it to be a ’70 model), and it wore a lovely two-tone mint-green-over-white paint job. What’s more, this one hadn’t been ruined with the typical set of gaudy aftermarket mags; no, this F-100 wore its original steel wheels and understated “dog dish” hubcaps. Whoever owned this Ford had taste.

Mind you, in Beverly Hills pickups are as common as palm trees and “Armed Response” security signs—being the chariots of choice for the scores of pool cleaners, gardeners, contractors, and personal assistants charged with Costco bulk buys who descend upon the community every day. But I sensed that the old F-100 in this driveway belonged to the master of the house. Unlike most of the surrounding yards, where the original, tidy circa-’40s and ’50s abodes had long ago been bulldozed in favor of towering stucco Italian palazzos and Windsor-worthy brick Tudors whose walls stretched right to the property lines, behind the Ford sat a single-story ranch on an expansive quadrangle of grass and jacaranda trees. The house mirrored the truck: old and modest, yes, but spruce and clearly kept with love.

Whoever owned the Ford apparently used it for regular short missions, for while I never saw it on the move, on some of my daily walks the pickup would have shifted from one side of the driveway to the other. But it was always there. One evening, I came upon the truck to see the tailgate open and a partially eaten mound of cedar chips filling half the bed. Only a few chips had spilled to the driveway. The owner wasn’t in sight—perhaps he or she was working in back—but I had to smile at the realization: Whoever owned this proud little Bev Hills estate tended the garden personally.

Did the Ford owner have connections at a nearby movie studio? he turned to walk into the house; under his left arm he cradled a sizable tiger cat.

Some time later, another load of cargo left me blinking in disbelief. It was late December, and the front yards of many Beverly Hillsiders were appropriately festooned with robotic Santas and twirling menorahs and lighted full-size reindeer teams dressed in colorful horse blankets to ward off the wintery 70-degree air. But then I came upon the F-100, and there, filling the cargo bed, thumbing its figurative nose at the tropical-holiday farce playing out on every surrounding stage, was a small mountain of gleaming, climate-defying, honest-to-goodness snow. I could only marvel at the sheer logistics! Where does one obtain snow in a place where pet huskies and malamutes are, by local statute, allowed only 90 seconds to sprint from their refrigerated doghouses to bedew the facsimile fire hydrant installed under the backyard saguaro? Did the Ford owner have connections at a nearby movie studio and obtain a heaping of man-made special effects? Or did he or she drive all the way out to Mount Wilson—an hour and a half each way on a good day—and scoop up a back-breaking load of the real thing?

Somehow I had always pictured the F-100’s owner as being old. Maybe it was grandpa or grandma preparing a super-special—albeit short-lived!—surprise for that night’s holiday dinner with the visiting grandkids. The snow wouldn’t last. But my memory of seeing it sure has.

I only saw the owner once—and only briefly. One night as I was walking past, I saw the F-100’s brake lights flicker and go out. The truck had just returned home! I slowed to a shuffle, and in another heartbeat or two the door opened and a man stepped out. I couldn’t see his face, but his arms were wrinkled and his thick hair completely white. He wore a smart, well-fitting polo shirt over slim jeans and a pair of well-worn Converse All-Stars. I didn’t notice until he turned to walk into the house, but under his left arm he cradled a sizable tiger cat, its tail flicking this way and that as they made haste for the door. And then the old man and the cat disappeared inside.

I don’t know why, exactly—probably because I was still in the thrall of a recent giddy afternoon whirling around the goofy joyrides of Disneyland with a new girlfriend—but I decided right there to dub the elder gentleman “Mr.

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