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Comment: Re: But Macs "just work", right? (Score 1) 222

by BronsCon (#49785955) Attached to: A Text Message Can Crash An iPhone and Force It To Reboot
Oh! It was this? Huh, interesting. FTFA: "Users would then see notifications about the finished downloads and would click on them, prompting the malicious application to install if their devices had the "unknown sources" setting enabled"

Yes, iOS is protected from this sort of attack by simply not allowing the user to install from unknown sources, a setting which is disabled by default on Android, incidentally. In other words, one specifically has to make themselves vulnerable to this attack in order to be vulnerable, it doesn't work in Android's default configuration.

It's always amusing when Apple fanbois point to vulnerabilities that require the ability to install from untrusted sources and scream about how insecure Android is. Really? Don't check the box to allow it (which, again, is unchecked by default) and it's a non-issue; the only people who should be checking that box are Android developers and, then, only on their development and testing devices.

The other class of "exploits" I find laughable are those that require root. Sure, many of them can be found in the Play store, but they have no effect whatsoever on a stock Android install. If you're going to consider those "exploits" you need to compare against the iOS equivalent: jailbroken devices. Suddenly, Android doesn't look so bad.

Sent from my Space Gray iPad Air 2.

Comment: Re:Lol (Score 2) 222

by BronsCon (#49784461) Attached to: A Text Message Can Crash An iPhone and Force It To Reboot
If you need to truncate after X characters, you don't just truncate after X*8 bits. Sure, that works if you're using an 8-bit encoding, but we're talking about multi-language script, variable-length encodings like UTF-8 here. You truncate after X code points when dealing with those, it's not a fixed number of bytes, and sanitizing your input (which I'm sure they're already doing) does not protect you against cutting a multi-byte character in half if you're counting bytes for truncation.

Comment: Re: Tolls! (Score 1) 826

by BronsCon (#49744451) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
As soon as I posted that, I realized I should clarify why I didn't compare only city mileage, given that you mentioned mostly city driving. It's simple though, really; the Prius got better mileage 5 years ago and the Corolla got worse, so it would have been unfair to the Prius to use 2015's city mileage numbers and KBB only provides the combined value. To be as fair as possible to the Prius, that is what I used.

Comment: Re: Tolls! (Score 1) 826

by BronsCon (#49744433) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
Funny you mention dealer service for anything other than the battery (which is a dealer-only part that they will not sell you without installation). It's also funny that you can get a Corolla headlight for $80 at the dealer or less than $16 off the shelf at any parts store. There's a reason I didn't compare common regular maintenance; I had assumed those costs would be similar between the two models. Thank you for pointing out yet another way a Prius actually costs more over time.

You and he think he saved money. Just like I ignored the $4000 battery replacement (those batteries have a high-end working life of 1 decade), you're also ignoring that. A new Prius costs $7250 more than a new Corolla; let's find out what the difference is when they're 5 years old. So, let's assume he bought a 5 year old Prius today and I bought a 5 year old Corolla (LE since there is no 2010 L model) today, he'll spend $11793 on a vehicle that gets 50 MPG on average and I'll spend $9279 on a vehicle that gets 29 MPG on average (according to KBB, both cars stock and in "Good" condition). He's going to pay $2514 more for that Prius which, you're right, does cut the difference down by nearly 2/3. So, what's the payoff point? I won't ignore the battery this time.

Average miles driven per year: 13346 - Fuel for Prius: 266.92gal - Fuel for Corolla: 460.21gal

Fuel cost @ $4.00/gal - Prius: $1067.68 - Corolla: $1840.84

Prius fuel cost savings per year: $773.16

So, the 2010 Prius actually fares quite a bit better against the 2010 Corolla than the comparison between the 2015 miles, the Prius should have this one in the bag, right?


Payoff on that price difference is roughly 3.25 years (a few days longer, actually) and, assuming the Prius' battery holds up for the full 10 years of expected life (note: this is rare), the Prius actually will be ahead of the Corolla at that point. However, at the end of 10 years, when the Prius should be $1353.03 ahead of the Corolla, the $4000 battery needs to be replaced, putting the Corolla back in the lead by $2646.97. It'll take the Prius another 3.5 years to catch up to the Corolla at that point. That all assumes that the electric motors in the Prius last 13.5 years without replacement; remember, this is not common maintenance between the two models, like a headlight, but maintenance that is specific to one model, like the $4000 battery. At any rate, a 5 year old Prius will be 13.5 years old before it catches up, cost-wise, to a 5 year old Corolla bought at the same time; that's an 8.5 year payoff when you actually consider the battery, assuming no other Prius-specific maintenance is necessary in that time. While that is an almost 35% reduction from the original 13 year payoff, it's also unlikely that either vehicle will be kept for that duration. More likely, when the Prius needs a new battery, it'll be traded in for something new; after all, at the 10 year mark, the Prius won't be worth the cost of the battery anymore, anyway.

It does look a bit more favorable when you raise the price of gas to $5, though. The Prius will have a yearly fuel cost of $966.45 less than the corolla at that point, giving it a (pre-battery) payoff time of 2.6 years (plus a handful of hours), putting it $2319.18 ahead of the Corolla at the 10 year mark. Factoring in the battery, the Corolla is actually $1680.52 ahead at the 10 year mark, but the Prius does catch up after roughly another 1.75 years. If gas costs 25% more, the used Prius beats the used Corolla after 6.75 years rather than 8.5. It's still unlikely the Prius will see that new battery at the 10 year mark, though, when it's KBB value will be less than the cost of the battery in the first place.

The economics of the Prius just don't work from a financial perspective. When you consider what goes into producing, and disposing of or recycling, large lithium batteries, the environmental economics don't work either. Especially given the frequency with which Prius' seem to pass me on the freeway when I'm doing 90 and getting 32MPG, as compared to the 28 or so they have to be getting doing nearly 100 purely on gasoline (the motors disengage at those speeds). I always laugh when I see that, because I know they bought the car to burn less fuel, but there they are staring at the MPG readout on their dash and not giving a damn.

Comment: Re:Tolls? (Score 1) 826

by BronsCon (#49740027) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
I'll admit that I didn't RTFA (hey, I know where I am) and wasn't aware that it involved tracking; I can agree with that for sure. Why tracking? Seems like the tax is just an excuse to track, actually; odometer readings should work just as well, if not better. Tracking for this purpose is just idiotic.

That said, the gas tax is intended to pay for roads, so switching to a taxing method that better correlates to one's usage of the roads (as you admit, the current method does not) only makes sense. Why should lawnmower and chainsaw which never see public roads, or my boat and track car which only public roads on a trailer,which is taxed separately, be taxed for road usage? Simple answer: they shouldn't. Likewise, a car idling in my driveway shouldn't be taxed for road usage. Under the current system, all of that is taxed as though it is putting wear and tear on the public roadways; a mileage-based system (using odometer readings and not some idiotic tracking scheme), on the other hand, taxes only the miles driven.

It's still not perfect, as not every mile driven in a registered vehicle will be driven on public roads (which is the issue I think the tracking is meant to address) but it's no worse than what most municipal sewer/water providers do in assuming that every gallon of water dispensed from your faucet ends up in their sewer. Most even have provisions for second, outdoor-only, meters that do not count against your sewage bill; the analog for cars would be my track car, which is unregistered and never drives on public roads.

Now, if the gas tax was just that, a tax on gasoline intended to curb gasoline usage or fund environmental programs, I'd agree with you, the tax should stay where it is. I'll remind you, again, though, that the tax is in place to fund roads. If I buy a Prius and replace its hybrid drive system with a V8, it will use much more gasoline, but it doesn't put any more wear and tear on the roads and thus, for the purpose of a roadway maintenance tax, shouldn't be taxed any more than the stock Prius.

Further, I don't know any hybrid owners who bought the car to save money on gas. Sure, they bought it to use less gas, but that was an environmental concern, not a financial decision. Nobody is buying a Prius (Prius Two, $24200 base, 51MPG city, 48MPG highway, 49.5MPG average) over a Corolla (Corolla L, $16950 base, 28MPG city, 37MPG highway, 32.5MPG average) to save money. Look at it this way: the Prius costs $7250 more out the door, the average American drives 13346 miles per year (men average 16550 while women average 10142, I'm simplifying by splitting it down the middle). The Prius will use 269.62 gallons of fuel to travel that distance while the Corolla will use 410.65 gallons; at a price of $4.00 per gallon, the Prius will have a fuel cost of $1078.48 per year while the Corolla will have a fuel cost of $1642.60 per year. That means the Prius will save the average American $564.12 per year in fuel. That's almost a 13 year payoff, ignoring the $4000.00 battery replacement that will be necessary at least once within that timeframe.

At $5.00 per gallon, the Prius looks a little better I suppose, saving you $705.15 per year in fuel costs. That's still over a 10 year payoff though, again ignoring the $4000 battery replacement.

Anyone whose fuel purchasing decisions are price-based isn't buying a more efficient vehicle anyway, because they can't afford it. so, again, how will cheaper gas lead to less efficient vehicles?

Comment: Re:Tolls? (Score 1) 826

by BronsCon (#49738637) Attached to: Oregon Testing Pay-Per-Mile Driving Fee To Replace Gas Tax
How does it encourage less efficient cars? They aren't making gasoline free, they're just removing a tax from it and taxing the thing that should have been taxed to begin with. That means your lawnmower and boat gas will no longer fund roads, but your miles driven on those roads will. Gas still costs money and less efficient vehicles use more of it, thus costing more, dis-incentivizing their use.

Comment: Re:the inevitable (Score 1) 333

by BronsCon (#49727003) Attached to: Genetically Engineered Yeast Makes It Possible To Brew Morphine
Actually, yeast convert carbohydrates—starches and sugars—to alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. That article is about as plain-english of an explanation as you'll find; and yes, it even confirms that the starches are processed into sugars before being turned into alcohol and CO2. All the yeast can make from a simple sugar (which, aside from starches which the yeast breaks into simple sugars via enzymes, is all yeast can process) is CO2 and alcohol and, since sugar isn't pure carbon, if CO2 is being produced, so it alcohol.

Unless you've discovered a strain of yeast that can transmute matter at the atomic level, in which case you need to apply for some grants to further that line of research.

Comment: Re:OSS needs technical writers more than coders (Score 2) 244

by BronsCon (#49692015) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading
You nailed it with your last sentence. In fact, I prefer to start with good technical (why/how) documentation and code from that, commenting usage (which eventually translates into user documentation) along the way. With the theoretical and technical documentation out of the way before coding even begins, and the bulk of the user documentation written alongside the code itself (still needing to be compiled into a coherent document and edited, of course), all that's really left is to provide some usage examples, which can be done during final editing of the documentation.

Because the theoretical and technical documentation do not need to follow the program (it happens the other way around in this case), they become much easier to write. Coding becomes easier, as well, because the theoretical and technical documentation define everything (and if it doesn't, it gets kicked back to the author to be fixed while the developer takes a coffee break). That whole process just moves more smoothly and quickly, at that point. Having the developer detail usage in their code comments means the person who best knows how to use the code is the one documenting how to use the code; of course, a technical writer should compile those comments into a coherent document, then edit it. As a final test of that documentation, that technical writer should, while editing the user documentation, write a series of usage examples and have the developer verify that the examples are correct. Any corrections to the examples should result in similar corrections to the documentation, as well.

This seems to reduce the number of revision cycles while, at the same time, ensuring that the documentation and application are in sync.

I always tell my clients, if they're not willing to work with me to write the technical documentation before I begin development, my development quote doubles and only minimal documentation will be provided. I only have one client who chooses that option; they also prefer to pay me to maintain everything, so I guess it's a win-win.

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.