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Comment Re:I guess they realised... (Score 1) 86

Exactly. X11 was designed for a different world where there was clipping, damage, rendering primitives, immediate rendering etc. It doesn't have any concept of compositing or GPU surfaces and thus a raft of extensions have appeared to support those things. But of course they're still hampered by a brain damaged pipeline which still thinks in the old way and they are constrained by.

Comment Re:VR is going to land with a thud (Score 1) 174

I play Stumovik Cliffs of Dover which has some amazing cockpit models and I can't help but think what it would be like if I was actually looking around with my head instead of with some stupid hat control. But sims are a niche. Not everyone likes flying planes around (or trains, trucks, tractors etc.). And even of those that do, only a fraction stump up for a stick let alone a peripheral costing $350 and requiring high end hardware.

So I don't see that sims would save the tech. Nor do I expect Oculus would be happy if it launches with great fanfare and ends up being mostly used by someone driving a tractor on a virtual farm.

Comment VR is going to land with a thud (Score 4, Insightful) 174

There is no denying VR sounds cool. In some cases it might actually be cool - I'm thinking particularly of racing / flight / space sims where you sit in a cockpit and the range of movements in game roughly correspond to real life - you sit in the game, you sit in real life, you have buttons and controls in the game, you have buttons and controls in real life.

But for other kinds of game I really don't see the benefit. Yeah it could be used for first person shooters (for example) but then the game has to somehow reconcile a person running, spinning, jumping, aiming, shooting, standing, crouching and throwing stuff to someone in real life sat on a couch. It's likely that it will be extremely disorientating and puke inducing.

And aside from FPSs what can we expect? Probably some lame jump scare horror games. Probably some table top style games. But nothing that particularly justifies the experience. I bet most games will work as well if not better in 2D.

The strange part is there are at least 3 major efforts to do VR plus a number of smaller ones and they'll end up cannibalizing the market for what it is. It's going to be a bloodbath.

Comment Re:700 ms latency, though... (Score 1) 58

And the latency is because the the satellites are in a geostationary orbit a horribly way long way away - signals having to go out 35000km out to the satellite and back again to some base station.

The other alternative is lots of satellites in a low earth orbit, with one coming into a range as another one leaves and some kind of data relay mechanism for sending data to a base station. A more complex solution but latencies would be much lower and it would probably scale better. The same satellites could even be used to service parts of Africa and South America.

Comment Of course it increases security (Score 1) 317

Chip and pin devices are more secure than magnetic stripes in a number of ways.

Buying something with a magstripe normally involves swiping the card in a reader and scrawling a signature onto a screen. Theoretically the cashier might ask for ID or compare the signature to the card but they rarely do. And the cashier might even be cahoots with the thief, knowing the card is stolen and not do any check at all. On top of that the merchant might store transaction details insecurely, or their software may be hacked. And in some scenarios such as bars & restaurants, the card might be taken from the sight of the customer which increases the risk of it being skimmed. All of these are major vulnerabilities that thieves have been known to exploit.

A chip and pin reader means that the card holder must authenticate themselves before proceeding. That stops someone from picking up a card, or cloning one and being able to use it without the pin. And authentication is to the payment processor and not to the store or cashier so it's not possible to bypass this check. It also means the store never captures the credit card info (they only get partial info and some payment authorization code) so hacking the store does not put details at risk. And chip & pin devices are portable so payments in bars & restaurants can be made in the presence of the customer so they are less likely to be swiped.

So yes it closes some very obvious security flaws. Is it perfect? Of course not, but it's a hell of a lot better than a magnetic stripe. It's a damned shame that it's taken the US so long to even switch to chip and pin. The next step would be to get rid of the magnetic stripe altogether but I expect we can look forward to years of lobbying by ATMs and banks how this couldn't possibly be done.

Comment Should have done this from the get-go (Score 1) 127

Blackberry should have gone with Android from the get go. They could have produced a security hardened version of Android where personal apps and business apps resided in separate personas protected from each other. This was a strong and compelling option for companies that wanted BYOD but without the risk. They could have thrown in their software stack too and their own front end and would have made a lot of money.

Now they're belatedly bringing out devices that run Android but it's basically just Samsung and KNOX under the covers. It's probably too little too late. I wouldn't be surprised if Samsung buy Blackberry outright and use the brand to sell a bunch of security hardened phones.

Comment Re:Can anyone explain in actual meaningful terms? (Score 1) 143

I wish Google would support a universal ABI using bitcode in their NDK. Apps that have native shared libs (i.e. most games) are faced with either bundling up all the libs compiled for each architecture into a single package (bloat), or producing separate packages for each architecture (hassle). And of course if a new architecture comes along, it means repackaging the app again.

It'd be much nicer to just bundle up a single shared library that was compatible with any architecture. It could be turned into a native lib when the app is downloaded or when the app was installed on the device. It could also just execute via a JIT.

The weird thing is that Android does contain an llvm compiler for renderscript, but not the NDK.

Comment Re:But this is Ridley Scott we're talking about (Score 1) 163

Historical fiction is fine. But the actual history that the story is framed within shouldn't be an afterthought or abused out of all recognition in order to contain the story.

With regard to Gladiator some of the mistakes are simply lazy (stating Rome was founded as a republic etc.) and there are some lengthy critiques about the movie from historians. Some minor changes to the script would have fixed a lot of these errors, and in other cases the plot or action could have been modified without detrimentally affecting anything.

Comment Re:Ah, no lessons learned from Windows 8 (Score 1) 170

I agree with this. Touch screen support more or less falls out of the design of GNOME 3 rather than being to the detriment of desktop use. It's meant to be a task oriented design and it just happens that this fits in with the model that most tablet OSes follow.

That isn't to say I like everything about GNOME 3. I spent WAY too long recently just making a lousy launcher for Minecraft for my kid. Something that would take seconds in Windows but meant I had to figure out how write a .desktop file by hand and where to put it.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955