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Comment: Still 28nm (Score 4, Informative) 103

by Solandri (#47954175) Attached to: NVIDIA Launches Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 GPUs
At this point I think it's safe to write off TSMC's 20nm fab process. It's not gonna happen, with signs pointing to development being shifted to 16nm instead.

A lot of what you see going on in the GPU and mobile front is being dictated by the failure of TSMC and other fabs to transition to 20nm for processors (memory is a lot easier and reached 16nm in 2013). Intel made the transition from 32nm to 22nm last year with Haswell and Bay Trail. The other fabs were supposed to leapfrog Intel by going from 28nm to 20nm this year. They haven't, which is what's allowed Intel to produce Atom SoCs with power usage approaching that of ARM SoCs. ARM has the lower power tech, but Intel's smaller lithography is mostly wiping out that advantage. If you see Intel successfully make the transition to 14nm in 2015 while the other fabs can't get 16nm to work, things are going to get really interesting on the mobile SoC front..

The GPU front is bleaker. Both nVidia and AMD use third party fabs like TSMC, so there's no competitive advantage to be had. We've just had to suffer with stagnating product lines and slow product releases because the expected lower power consumption in GPUs from 20nm didn't happen in 2014.

Comment: maybe 16Gb is enough (Score 1) 198

by drolli (#47954105) Attached to: Why the iPhone 6 Has the Same Base Memory As the iPhone 5

maybe 16Gb is enough for the real current use cases for the average iphone user?

Apple has been pretty good in identifying the users needs and limiting what they put in the phones.

Which was the case for the iphone 1, where everybody wondered about UMTS. As a matter of fact, iphones are not meant to be "general puprose computers", and they suck ehen used as such. They are perfectly balanced media players.

Comment: Re:Everyone loses (Score 1) 439

by Solandri (#47949167) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

As I said, I've been here for a decade now, and I work for a big company with great perks. It's been good for me, but now that I have a kid, the school-shootings thing is getting more and more worrisome. There's literally nothing I can do to prevent some moron raiding his mother's arsenal and killing my kid if that's how he wants to end his life.

Why this obsession with school shootings? You do realize your kid is far more likely to be murdered outside of school than in school? "Homicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 5-18. Data from this study indicate that between 1% and 2% of these deaths happen on school grounds or on the way to or from school." So 98%-99% of homicides of school-aged children happen outside of school. i.e. The place where your kids are safest by far from being shot or killed is in school.

If you look at the chart in the above link, on average fewer than 20 students are murdered each year in school shootings. If you look at causes of death, among 5-14 year olds (page 2), the #15 cause of death kills 18 per year, indicating school shootings doesn't even rank in the top 15. For age 15-24 (high school-college), the #15 cause kills 99 per year, so school shootings probably doesn't even make the top 20 or 30. By far the #1 killer of student-aged children is accidents - outnumbering homicides by nearly an order of magnitude, and school shootings by two orders of magnitude.

It's the media which has a morbid obsession with school shootings, causing them to devote wildly disproportionate amounts of coverage to it relative to other dangers and risks faced by school-aged children. Don't buy into it. Parents' fear of school shootings is completely irrational, just like fear of flying (which is also fed by the media's disproportionate coverage of plane crashes), or child abduction by a stranger (which is the rarest form of kidnapping, and also fed by the media's... well you get the picture).

Comment: Re:I know this is going to sound crazy... (Score 1) 290

by Solandri (#47938465) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance
The thing is, I don't think most people realize just how much sugar is in sweetened beverages. When you eat a slice of pie or a scoop of ice cream, your brain quantifies it as a discrete amount of sustenance and naturally limits your intake. But for some reason when you're drinking, people rationalize that "it's mostly water" and overconsume. I didn't realize it myself until I ordered a regular iced tea because the restaurant didn't carry sweetened, and tried to sweeten it myself to taste. After 4 packets of sugar went in and it still tasted bland, I realized that there's a heckuva lot more sugar in these sweetened drinks than I'd thought.

Comment: Re:The sad part is... (Score 2) 182

by Solandri (#47938261) Attached to: Snowden's Leaks Didn't Help Terrorists
Both sides are likely lying.

You don't acknowledge damage when you're in a state of combat. That's just giving away intelligence to the enemy for free. It's like when CBS reported the exact location of Iraq's first scud missile strike against Israel. Why would you freely give the enemy information verifying their attack worked and thus help them improve future attacks? That's just stupid.

The people claiming Snowden's disclosures have compromised intelligence gathering methods are either committing treason by confirming to the enemy that their obfuscation methods are working, or know that it hasn't and are lying through their teeth to misdirect the enemy, or don't know anything and are lying by pretending to know in order to score political points.

Likewise, the people claiming Snowden's disclosures haven't compromised intelligence are either committing treason by confirming to the enemy that their obfuscation methods have been unsuccessful and they need to try something else, or know that it has a has and are lying through their teeth to misdirect the enemy, or don't know anything and are lying by pretending to know in order to score political points.

I tend to believe anybody who really knows is also smart enough to know not to reveal that info (and not commit treason) and are keeping their mouth shut. And so anybody who's claiming "with certainty" one way or the other is likely lying.

Comment: That doesn't mean this is a bad move (Score 1) 499

by Solandri (#47937965) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police
As much as the government wants these powers, and wants them in secret, this is really a policy decision which needs to be made by the citizens. They need to decide if off-the-shelf products should provide end-level encryption by default, or if the government should always have a back-door into all encrypted products. Not politicians, not the police, and certainly not secret government courts. Society at large needs to decide which is more important - personal privacy, or the government's ability to obtain evidence of laws being broken in communications mediums and storage devices.

This move by Apple puts the debate squarely in the public's eye, instead of hidden in esoteric cryptography forums and secret government courts.

Comment: Re:So everything is protected by a 4 digit passcod (Score 2) 499

by Solandri (#47937869) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police
Standard data forensics procedure is to write-protect any storage device which contains evidence, copy it bit-for-bit, and do all the decrypting and data analysis from the copy. The 10-try limit may protect your data from a random thief who lifts your phone, but the only way it's going to protect you from the government or any other technically-capable hacker is if Apple baked the limit into the flash memory-reading hardware.

And there's always this.

Comment: Re:Dial up can still access gmail (Score 1) 333

Which doesn't bode well for the continued existence of their "dial-up only" email provider continuing to stay in business and provide that email address. Submitter should migrate them over to gmail or other large, likely-to-have-plenty-of-warning-before-service-stops web mail company sooner, just to inoculate against the possibility of an unexpected cutoff (presumably they stay because they don't want to lose contact with people using that email address, but they will lose contact pretty quick if the provider goes out of business.)

Comment: Re:...the best photographers were older people... (Score 4, Insightful) 97

by Solandri (#47932807) Attached to: How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers
As someone who learned photography "the old way" (film, darkroom, nasty chemicals), there is something to what both of you have to say. My rate of "keepers" in the film days was about 1 shot per roll (1 in 36). My rate of "keepers" in digital is about 1 in 100. So clearly I'm not being as careful to compose the shot perfectly. And I'm definitely taking multiple shots on many occasions with the hope that one will be good.

But my rate of "keepers" per trip has skyrocketed. With film I'd be happy if I managed just 2-3 keepers from a trip. With digital I expect 5+ and am disappointed if I don't get 10. This is because I shoot a lot more pictures with digital than I ever shot with film. The cost of the professional film I used + developing meant I was paying $0.50-$1 per shot. That put a serious damper on photography. I think the most film I ever shot on a trip was 12 rolls (432 pictures) over 4 weeks, or an average of 15 shots a day. With digital I'll take 2000-3000 shots on a similar trip, or 70-110 shots a day.

FWIW, the rate of keepers seems to be consistent (between 1 in 50 to 1 in 100) among both amateurs and professionals. i.e. The pro photographers aren't getting those great shots by snapping a few pictures. National Geographic did an article on how they make articles. The photographer shot over 5000 photos (on film!) to arrive at the 8 photos used in the article.

Which approach is better? Hard to tell. Though truth be told, equipment actually doesn't matter. National Geographic photographers have intentionally gone on trips equipped with nothing more than an iPhone and still take stunning photos using nothing more than the default camera app.

Equipment does matter. Photography isn't just a matter of seeing something cool and snapping a picture of it. Wide-angles can give you unusual perspectives. Better equipment gives you access to different capabilities. Telephotos allow you to compress perspective, as well as pick out distant subjects without having to run all over. A wider aperture lens can blur the backgrounds more in portraits. Flash exposure compensation can allow you to use a flash, but make the picture look like it was shot without a flash. Zooming during the exposure followed by a flash can create an impressionistic effect which emphasizes the subject. etc.

I recently drove some European friends to San Francisco. Unfortunately we arrived right around dusk, and they weren't able to get a decent shot of themselves with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. I simply borrowed one of their DSLRs, mounted it on a tripod, put it in aperture priority mode, turned the flash on with FEC dialed to about -1.0, and told them to stand perfectly still for a few seconds. When you do that, the DSLR automatically adjusts the exposure time for the background, but exposes the foreground by modulating the flash. The result was a perfect image of the bridge and city lights in the background, with my friends perfectly exposed in the foreground.

That was GP's point - that better equipment gives you access to more options and different things you can do to take different and better pictures. While it's certainly possible to take good photos with a smartphone, the number of different types of good photos you can take is considerably less than with a DSLR and good lenses. OP misinterpreted GP's post as a film vs digital thing.

Comment: Re:Hmmm .... (Score 1) 110

by Solandri (#47929831) Attached to: A DC-10 Passenger Plane Is Perfect At Fighting Wildfires
Yeah, the DC-10's fatal accident rate isn't appreciably different from other planes of its era. It's a safe aircraft. It only picked up the reputation of being unsafe because of a grouping of accidents (two of which were MD's fault because of the cargo door problem), which sealed public opinion against it. Kinda like Malaysia Airlines' reputation has taken a permanent hit after the enormous publicity surrounding the loss of two of its airliners within 4 months of each other.

A300 = 0.61 fatal accidents per million flights
727 = 0.5
737-100/200 = 0.61
747-100/200/300 = 1.02
DC-9 = 0.56
DC-10 = 0.65
L-1011 = 0.48

(Note that when you get into incidents which occur this infrequently, the margin of error starts to become huge relative to the actual incident rate. So you can calculate the rate to as many decimal places as you want, but it's pretty meaningless. The above are statistically indistinguishable - (bad) luck played a larger role than the airworthiness of any aircraft type.)

Comment: Re:The DC-10 was killed by poor management. (Score 2) 110

by Solandri (#47929601) Attached to: A DC-10 Passenger Plane Is Perfect At Fighting Wildfires

Good plane, killed by the same stupid management that killed US Auto industry too. At least in the case of US auto they were actively aided and abetted by the unions. But McDonnel-Douglas was just self inflicted wounds. The third player Lockheed (L-1011 tristar) survived on military cargo plane contracts.

I had a brief internship at Lockheed where I worked under one of the managers who worked on the L-1011 project. According to him, both the DC-10 and L-1011 were good planes (though of course the L-1011 was better). The problem was that when both companies had decided to build the planes, they'd done their market analysis based on the assumption that their plane was the only one servicing the widebody-but-smaller-than-747 market. i.e. $x profit per plane * number of planes sold > design costs.

When both planes rolled out almost simultaneously, they split the market in half. Both manufacturer ended up selling about half as many planes as expected, and neither made much if any money. That's why Lockheed abandoned the commercial aircraft industry after a long and storied history - a decision by upper management that military contracts which were guaranteed to pay were safer than a commercial venture which went south not because of anything under their control, but because a competitor rolled out an almost-identical plane at the same time.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle