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Comment Re:Devices should be de-brickable (Score 1) 144

Yes, yes, that's all very clever of you, except for the fact that iPhones do have that. You can reset the firmware, or all the internal storage, from a plugged-in computer. Almost every single byte of internal flash can be rewritten by Apple, or, hell, by an end user with iTunes. (I think the only parts that can't be overwritten are the parts that allow the phone to enter recovery.)

These 'bricked' phones? They enter recovery mode just fine, and all their internal memory can be rewritten just fine. Everything works fine there.

The problem here is that the current time, of course, is not part of a system recovery, because the damn current time is not saved to the phone's flash memory. How would that even work?

The clock in an iPhone operates the same way the clock in a PC operates, in a separate very low-power clock-tracking chip that runs off a battery. (Which in this case is the device battery.) There is absolutely no way to alter this from outside the device, and, really, no device has even needed such an ability before. iOS just has a really stupid bug.

And the way the iPhone is designed does not allow easy removal of the battery, which, really, is the problem here. If Android had this problem, it would be laughed off, 'Just unplug the battery, that will fix it'. But you can't do that with an iPhone.

I suspect that, within days, Apple will have produced a iOS update that can be put on the device (Even after it has been 'bricked'.) that either checks the time and fixes it, or just doesn't have whatever bug is causing this in the first place. (In fact, it should be possible to put a tiny image on there whose sole purpose is to change the clock, and then put the *original* image back.)

Submission + - Nuclear and Radioactive Packages Keep Going Missing in Canada (

mdsolar writes: If you've ever lost your wallet or car keys, you've got something in common with the people who run Canada's nuclear facilities, who keep misplacing nuclear and radiological material.

Last year alone, 14 radioactive packages were lost or stolen, according to the annual report from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), and less than half were later recovered. That's on top of the dozen of other nuclear packages from recent years that have yet to be found.

The report doesn't detail the circumstances of the losses or thefts, except to say that they were either "sealed sources" — a secure container carrying nuclear or radioactive material — or "radioactive devices."

The lapses, at a time when security services pledge neurotic devotion to tracking and recovering dangerous goods that could reach the black market, are thanks in part to a handful of private companies that are mishandling radioactive material.

Comment Less than zero is a valid timestamp (Score 0) 144

The thing that bothers me about all of the summaries I've read, is that a timestamp less than zero (which is Jan 1 1970) is still valid - otherwise how would you represent dates before 1970???

I don't know what is going on but a timestamp being merely "less than zero" seems alone to not be a problem, it's how some other part of the system is dealing with this timestamp. Perhaps someone somewhere in the system frameworks shifted from a timestamp (which is really a double internally in iOS) to some kind of large unsigned int?

Comment Re:Great (Score 2) 44

How's this, in the last 10 years, what if instead you didn't have 4G / LTE etc, instead you just still had "inefficient EDGE" BUT unlimited data, all month long, endlessly?

You mean... what if the cellphone carriers didn't take advantage of any of the advances in technology that had happened, and just gave us the same shit sandwich they were giving us 11 years ago?

I'd be pretty pissed about that completely different situation too. I'd say to them "Look, why not use the new spectrum the government is opening up for you, use something really efficient like LTE, and offer us more bandwidth for the same cost given we're paying you the same amount of money now as we were when you were still upgrading your network?"

Technology has improved. You'd expect that to result in actual improvements beyond being able to see a web page render more quickly on your mobile. We know capacity has improved, so why can't we access it?

Comment Re:Smart! (Score 1) 181

IF there was an actual store that did that I would go in there once a week, fill my cart up, have the cashier ring me up, bag the groceries and then flip out and storm out when they refused to take the cash

And you could do that once. The second time you'll get banned from the store. The third time they call the cops on you for trespassing.

Submission + - Checking in with Andrew Ng at Baidu's Blooming Silicon Valley Research Lab (

Tekla Perry writes: Andrew Ng, founder of the Google Brain project and Coursera and now chief scientist for Baidu, discusses Baidu's approach to autonomous vehicles (focus on known routes, not every possibility), language translation (a single machine learning algorithm to tackle both English and Mandarin), the university vs corporate research experience, and Baidu's Silicon Valley hiring plans

Comment Re:Hammerheads in Vermont (Score 1) 573

Nope. We've just been something that you USians have a problem with. Fiscally conservative. Our social programmes of course have to be sustainable.

Whether we're "socialist" or not, isn't really a useful moniker, as you mean different things. The Social Democratic Workers Party is currently in government (together with the greens), and we have a decidedly mixed economy, much to the left of the US, so "social democratic" is a useful descriptive label.

Yes, the US looks good if you take all the money that the 0.1% controls and spreads it evenly across the country. Problem is that that isn't nearly true. Not even close. If you check almost all other quality of life indices, Sweden/Norway/Denmark/Finland etc. routinely come out on top.

Are there challenges with the current influx of refugees? Yes of course. That's why we've "closed" the border. It's the only thing we can do. We'll manage that as well, given how we're now running a record economy with record exports and a very positive trade balance.

Fiscally and financially we're of course doing much better than the US. But then again, that's not that hard these days, and haven't been for a long time.

P.S. I'm not sure the economist you refer to would prefer to be referred to as "she", but who knows.

Comment Re:Win3.x Win8.x (Score 2) 95

I'm finding it fairly amusing that Windows 3.x actually looks quite fresh and, ugly pre-anti-aliasing font aside, fairly modern. Which is odd because at the time, as a user of AmigaOS 2.04 at home, I thought it looked clumsy and ugly (and everyone else started to agree about the look of Windows 3.x when Windows 95 came out.)

There's a lot of flatness to the Windows 3.x UI, which is something that's in vogue again.

Comment Re:Hammerheads in Vermont (Score 1) 573

By the way, if you want to get the story from a Swedish economist...

By which to say you mean an economist living and working for a British conservative think-tank in London, cherry picking quotes from the late nineties (news flash, economy is better than it was then, not worse), then sure. The senator from Vermont actually has a demonstrably bigger clue about current affairs, then a guy with an agenda. Who would have thunk?

That's the problem with economics not being a science after all. There are too many people with an agenda that find their home there, and reality be damned.

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