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Comment: It's a tool vendor, not a target, issue. (Score 1) 180

But you see you are in the Windows CE embedded niche. Your vision is clouded.

I'm not in a "windows CE embedded" niche and the grandparent poster is right.

It's not an issue with the target. It's an issue with the platform(s) supported by the development tool vendors and the chip manufacturers.

For instance: With Bluetooth 4.0 / Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), two of the premier system-on-a-chip product families are from Texas Instruments and Nordic Semiconductors.

TI developed their software in IAR's proprietary development environment and only supports that. Their bluetooth stack is only distributed in object form - for IAR's tools - with a "no reverse engineering" and "no linking to open source (which might force disclosure)". IAR, in turn, doesn't support anything but Windows. (You can't even use Wine: The IAR license manager needs real Windows to install, and the CC Debugger dongle, for burning the chip and necessary for hooking the debugger to the hardware debugging module, keeps important parts of its functionality in a closed-source windows driver.) IAR is about $3,000/seat after the one-month free evaluation (though they also allow a perpetual evaluation that is size-crippled, and too small to run the stack.)

The TI system-on-a-chip comes with some very good and very cheap hardware development platforms. (The CC Debugger dongle, the USB/BLE-radio stick, and the Sensor Tag (a battery-powered BLE device with buttons, magnetometer, gyro, barometer, humidity sensor, ambient temp sensor, and IR remote temp sensor), go for $49 for each of the three kits.) Their source code is free-as-in-beer, even when built into a commercial product, and gives you the whole infrastructure on which to build your app. But if you want to program these chips you either do it on Windows with the pricey IAR tools or build your own toolset and program the "bare metal", discarding ALL TI's code and writing a radio stack and OS from scratch.

Nordic is similar: Their license lets you reverse-engineer and modify their code (at your own risk). But their development platforms are built by Segger and the Windows-only development kit comes with TWO licenses. The Segger license (under German law), for the burner dongle and other debug infrastruture, not only has a no-reverse-engineering clause but also an anti-compete: Use their tools (even for comparison while developing your own) and you've signed away your right to EVER develop either anything similar or any product that competes with any of theirs.

So until the chip makers wise up (or are out-competed by ones who have), or some open-source people build something from scratch, with no help from them, to support their products, you're either stuck on Windows or stuck violating contracts and coming afoul of the law.

Comment: Re:Reminds me of The Wonderful Burt Wonderstone (Score 4, Insightful) 90

by jd (#47413427) Attached to: The Billionaire Mathematician

Humans nearly died out entirely from hunger and thirst, it was visionaries that led them out of a dying region of Africa into Asia, by a route that appeared to defy reason to any non-visionary of the time.

Pre-humans nearly had their brains the size of a grapefruit and wired backwards. It was visionaries who developed fire, 2.5 million years ago, providing the much-needed nutrition that allowed us to avoid the same fate as every other lineage of hominid.

Visionaries allowed the Norse to split quartz in a way that permitted them to track the sun even in cloudy skies and well into twilight, giving them greater access to the seas, trade and food than any other society of that time.

Visionaries developed cities to handle the logistics of the brewing and baking industries, again counter to any "obvious" logic that farming and hunting were how you got food.

Visionaries are the reason you can post stuff on the Internet, and why persecuted minorities around the world can have a voice and education.

So don't tell a visionary that he is defying your common sense. His work may have implications for society that you cannot imagine simply because he has the imagination and you don't. That does not mean that it will have such an implication or that he does have that extra imagination. It simply means that visionaries have a track record of saving people from starvation.

What about normal people? Those are usually the ones who manufacture conditions suitable for mass starvation. They're the ones who create nothing but buy the rights to sue to oblivion those who do. They're the ones who have allowed security holes to develop in critical infrastructure, like nuclear power stations, and then place said infrastructure on the public Internet where anybody can play with it. They're the ones who deny Global Warming and have endangered all life on this planet.

At this point in history, we'd be better off if the normal people were rounded up, put on some nowhere continent, and left to rot at their own hands. This would also solve much of the operpopulation crisis, as they're also the ones that breed morons like rabbits. If they choose to become civilized, they're free to do so. That would be helpful, in fact. But as long as they remain normal (read: proto-human), their fate is their lookout but they've no business making it everyone else's fate too.

Comment: Re:more leisure time for humans! (Score 1) 526

by bigpat (#47409379) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

There is nothing natural about a free market capitalist society allowing itself to be transformed from a society with more equitable distribution of capital into a society where very few people control most of the wealth and people are not really free to exchange goods, services and capital.

This is happening as the result of government regulations and because of public policies and not simply some sort of passive "deregulation" where the government steps back and does nothing. The government isn't deregulating. We have as much regulation as ever, it is just violently skewed towards protecting the vast and unbridled wealth of the rich while not diligently making sure that those without wealth have a level playing field in a free market.

Comment: Re:It's working so well in Venezuela (Score 1) 526

by bigpat (#47409101) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

If people continue to breed as they currently do, we're going to be just fine.

That would be true only if current population levels are actually sustainable over a longer term and depends on what your definition of "just fine" is. The evidence so far is mixed. Yes, we have apparently been able to feed almost everyone and there is some additional arable land that could be put into production, but not too much more land, especially given the pressures of development for housing, industry and transportation. And we have seen some pretty massive wars and genocides in the last hundred years which are at least partly the result of temporary or perceived resource scarcity. Japan wanted to control its oil supply in World War II and Germany wanted to directly control its oil, coal and food supplies. Other wars have been about oil. The Rwandan Genocide certainly had a component that was caused by resource scarcity.

So far with a human population in the billions "just fine" has meant periodic wars and genocides which kill millions and millions of people.

I don't think "just fine" means what you think it means and we would be really much better off if we had worldwide birthrates somewhat below replacement population. When it comes to population and natural resource utilization you never want to think about getting anywhere close to 100% capacity. You should always aim for excess production capacity to account for natural disasters and wars.

Comment: continuing... (Score 1) 702

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47393867) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

(Stupid touchpad...)

  - If this deviation is the result of burning fossil fuels, they are expected to run out in about 800 years - after which the temperature might crash toward the "Ice age already in progress" as the excess carbon is removed from the atomsphere by various processes, or simply be overwhelmed by the orbital mechanical function if it remains.

Does this scenario count as supporting or opposing anthropogenic global warming?

Comment: And that, in turn, is political. (Score 1) 702

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47393843) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

The percentages come from looking at all studies, papers, research, etc. and determining the number one one side or the /i?

When the administrators of research funding withhold future grants from scientists who publish papers questioning some aspect of the current global warming scenario, while giving additional funding to scientists who publish papers supporting it (or claiming some global-warming tie-in to whatever phenomenon they're examining), the count becomes skewed. This is political action, not science.

This happened in the '70s with research into medical effects of the popular "recreational" drugs - before such research was effectively banned. Among the resuts were a plethora of papers where the conclusions obviously didn't match the data presented and a two-decade delay in the discovery of medical effects and development of treatments. Only NOW are we finding evidence that PTSD might be aborted by adequate opate dosages in the weeks immediately following the injury, or that compounds in marijuana may be a specific treatment for it - as they are for some forms of epilepsy and may be for some cancers, late stage parkinsons, and so on.

The same happens when the editors of a journal and their selection of reviewers systematically approve and publish only research supporting the current paradigms, to the point that scientists with contrary resuts must find, or create, other journals or distribution channels (which can then be smeared as non-authoritaive, creations of the fossil fuel industry, right-wing politicans, or conspiracy nuts - and their articles LEFT OUT OF THE COUNT). Again, this is politics, not science.

Then there's the question of the methodology of the count itself. What is counted as "support for" versus "opposition to"? What does it count as a scientific paper? Were well-established research methods used? Was it reviewed? By whom? Was it done by scientists with no established position on the issue, by scientists supporting one side, by pollsters, by an advocacy group, by politicians? (Hell, was it done at all? Truth is the first casualty of politics, and fake polls are one of the commonest murder weapons.)

For an instance: How would you interpret the study behind the Scientific American article that seems to indicate:
  - Planetary temperatures have tightly tracked a function of three orbital-mechanics effects on the earth's orbit and axial orientation - up to the time of human domestication of fire.
  - That occurred as the function was just starting to inflect downward into the next ice age.
  - The deviation amounted to holding the temperature stable as the function slowly curved downward. (Perhaps a feedback effect - more fires needed for comfort in colder winters?)
  - This essentially flat temperature held up to the industrial revolution, when the temperature began to curve upward, overcoming the gradually steepening decline of the function.
  - If this deviation is the result of burning fossil fuels, they are expected to run out in about 800 years - after which the temperature might crash toward the "Ice age already in progress" as the excess carbon is removed from the atomsphere by various processes, or simply be overwhelmed by the orbita

Comment: already illegal for that. (Score 1) 200

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47391013) Attached to: The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

In twenty-four hours this will go from "illegal" to "high demand professional camera service" for promotions, events, etc.

Sorry, that's already illegal (according to the FAA).

Just a few weeks ago the FAA issued an interpretation of existing rules that declared illegal any commercial use of video from a drone.

Comment: Popularity != Quality (Score 1) 194

by jd (#47390533) Attached to: IEEE Spectrum Ranks the Top Programming Languages

There should have been modifiers for typical bugs per kloc and security holes per kloc.

Also, there are many more layers to the industry. Scientific computing? Avionics? Publishing?

The subdivisions between languages are also a bit... strange. Java/Oak isn't truly uniform, whatever anyone claims. C and C++ have standards that aren't always backwards-compatible - if you ignore such changes, why bother listing C# or D as distinct? Lump the lot, together with B and BCPL under a single header.

My guess is that accurate representation of languages isn't possible (when does a dialect become a distinct language?) but that if it was, none of the so-called "big three" languages would be in the top 10. Computer languages are as bad as natural languages when it comes to classifiers.

Last, but by no means least, people rarely directly code any more. They code within engines, usually using some weird fringe language nobody has ever heard of that turns out to be Lua or Visual Basic with the keywords words renamed for the theme. Real programmers (as opposed to integer or complex programmers) tend to be in the minority, have become rarer after Qualcomm outlawed them, and are mostly in mourning for Freshmeat. But as a lot are Goths anyway, it's hard to tell.

Them as has, gets.