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Comment Re:NPAPI Plug-ins (Score 1) 146

Flash will now be fully supported again?

Why support Flash at all? Flash is dying and these days it doesn't offer anything over HTML5.

I think for Adobe, it is more of a time-buying exit strategy for Flash, until their tools are able to output HTML5-compliant media as nicely as they currently do for Flash. ...yet they continue to upgrade Air, which also might just be a matter of supporting existing users (as in developers), more than trying to attract new ones.

As a mobile app developer, I am moving away from Air as a platform, but appreciate Adobe's commitment to improving performance and reliability for those apps I have that are still using Air.

Comment Re:Whoa! Waiddamin there! (Score 1) 146

I think the problem with Java is that Oracle doesn't seem to want to play nice with the browser developers.

It's not like they haven't had the time (or have the resources) to fix the issue. Oracle is letting Java-in-the-browser die over their spat with Google and their desire to control Java on the desktop.

At least Adobe was smart enough to step in and work out the issues with Google and Mozilla so Flash Player would continue to have support. If they could do that, why couldn't Oracle? I'm sure Google and Mozilla both would like to continue to support Java for their customers, but not at the expense of keeping NPAPI support - though I won't say there isn't a bit of negativity towards Oracle in that decision, as well.

Comment Source code and calibrations (Score 1) 618

This is bigger than "the guy who wrote the code" because an ECU ROM image is comprised of two parts, really... the program code (which obviously had to be altered to detect the conditions for switching emissions controls in) and the calibrations - a symbolically mapped area of constants used to tune the controller for each individual platform and for regions that platform is sold in.

Calibrations are a checksummed block of the ROM image, mapped and edited through a calibration editors. I've actually architected one such calibration editor in the late 90s for GM (Cal-Link) and I've seen the competition (oddly enough, German-written "ETAS" software).

What has to be the case, is that there are at least two sets of calibrations - one for "emissions cheat mode" and one for "performance mode" - and calibrations involve a team of engineers, testing on a dynamometer, on the proving grounds tracks, or on the bench; at each phase, they are checking against emissions testing and performance parameters, tweaking and tuning until they get an acceptable, marketable product.

So to make this cheat happen, across not only individual product lines, but badges as well (Volkswagen AND Audi), you are talking a large number of teams working on multiple sets of calibrations - whose purpose must be obvious the first time they put it on a dynamometer. They are working with an ECU whose code was written by another party not even in their food chain (one controller, lots of products... and every car platform is tuned differently).

I have no idea how high this goes, but it has to be somebody with oversight of not only multiple product lines, but both badges, too.

Comment Apple buys Volkswagen's assets.... (Score 4, Interesting) 535

Apple buys VW/Audi and rebrands (since the brands will be taking a big hit very soon), and consumers forget about dieselgate. Apple gets the infrastructure to build cars, as well as an eager dealership network. They throw money at some new designers to oversee the existing engineers and make the vehicles they want to make.

Book it, done deal.

Comment Blaming American Engineers (Score 5, Informative) 301

In the German press, the CEO is already painting this as a bunch of rogue American engineers doing this.

One problem: If there was any engineering in the US, it was probably only to tweak the existing calibrations. It's pretty rare to see the actual source to ECUs, which is mostly unchanged over long periods of time. Most of the adjustments made are in the calibrations - a checksummed block of mapped constants in the ROM image file where the symbolic map has been exported by the compiler.

As somebody who has actually authored calibration tools used in the automotive industry, and worked on some of the software used to provide version control, I have a pretty clear idea of what is going on here.

In this case, the code itself - the algorithms used in the ECU, specifically disabled emissions controls (either by an alternative set of calibrations, or by skipping entire routines) when in Emissions Test Mode. If it's using an alternative set of calibrations... it still demands an answer to why it would need a second set of calibrations to begin with.

Sadly, the press and many of the investigators involved in this will probably not understand the techical aspects of this, and why this is a fundamental cheat that could only have been created by the team that engineered the ECU.

Comment Re:Start Menu is horribly broken (Score 1) 39

VisualStudio 2015 alone is worth 32 items in your install. MS Office 2013 is another 20+ items.

I'd bet the average developer has over 1500 items, and any gamer will also have over 1000, easily.

The only people likely to have under 512 items will be the most casual users, people who only browse the web and read their e-mails. Microsoft screwed the pooch on this. The fix is taking a while because they baked in the arbitrary 512 item limit into the search index database file that is created. I'm guessing the number of entries in the database file is fixed for every place that uses the database fie - i.e. if it goes over, things break badly. The developers who coded that need to be taken out back and put out of everybody's misery.

Full disclosure: Back in '97 I wrote my own ini file handler after discovering Microsoft had put an arbitrary limit of 64k on the size of the file, and it read our 3MB files (not my fault) without complaining, just truncating everything over that 65535th character. I did that in one afternoon. I guess Microsoft is still using developers who can't dynamically allocate space for data.

Comment Start Menu is horribly broken (Score 1) 39

The current Start Menu is horribly broken. Microsoft has known this for months, but has failed to produce a fix.

Currently, it is limited to 512 items. This also breaks Cortana's search for items in the menu.

Of course, that is separate from another issue with the Start Menu: The inexplicable "flattening" of the program files structure to a single folder level, which maddeningly produces menu folders with countless "Uninstall" and "Help" links in some cases. That was, apparently, a "design decision" by some idiot at Microsoft when they moved to the Metro UI in Windows 8, and hasn't been corrected back to the more realistic and productive way it originally worked (since Windows 95, no less)

Comment Re:What? (Score 3, Funny) 59

Sure, it might take a while to print it out, but they can always chill drinking their organic double mocha latte and reading on their iPad Air tablet while it prints

Now stop talking sense, you. Practicality and critical thinking gibberish have no place when hipsters are out to save the world!

Comment Re:Half the story (Score 1, Insightful) 213


I believe trademarks are where corporations should be able to protect characters of a franchise that is still being actively monetized.

Once the copyright expires on a cartoon... you should be able to copy it freely, of course, but that shouldn't mean you have a right to monetize it when it contains trademarked characters.

It is a simple fix to our current laws, but unfortunately, the people are no longer served by our so-called "representatives" in Congress.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan