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Comment: This is something I've been noticing for a while (Score 4, Insightful) 253

by Runefox (#47972825) Attached to: Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

Android handsets are in a numbers race as far as specs go, going so far as to push beyond what anyone would appreciably notice. Case in point: The LG G3 with its 1440p, making for 534 PPI. What, exactly, is the point of this ridiculous PPI? You certainly aren't going to notice a difference between a 1080p screen and that one at these screen sizes unless you're used to using your phone under a magnifying glass or an inch away from your face. And yet it's a big feature, proudly displayed as the first bullet point on the website. It's a numbers game.

Then there's the dual core vs quad core (and beyond) and maximum clock speed bit, which is absurd when you consider that different implementations (Qualcomm vs Apple for instance) even within the same architecture will have different levels of efficiency. In the PC world, for instance, Intel's processors absolutely dominate AMD's per-core and per-clock, and both are x86-64. For some perspective on that, Anandtech wrote that a single Haswell core has double the floating point performance of two AMD modules - four "cores". For Android's part, the trend seems to be, similarly to AMD, pushing for higher and higher clocks (Snapdragon 80x), and not efficiency. This can be seen in the preliminary benchmark results that show Apple's supposedly underpowered CPU topping the charts.

And then, coming back to the story's example of the Nexus 5 vs the iPhone 6, comparing Android to iOS as far as RAM requirements go couldn't possibly be more misguided. iOS is far more restrictive as to what an app can do in the background than Android is, and much more aggressive with reclaiming memory for the app in the foreground. Android keeps apps running for as long as possible (until memory is needed, basically), and apps can do essentially whatever they want to do in the background. This also factors in to battery life, where power consumption on Android is likely to be much higher and therefore much larger batteries are being used there for what is basically similar battery life.

It's for those reasons that it's tough to actually compare the two ecosystems, and it's tough to say whether the specs really make that much of a difference to the overall experience. I think the ultimate answer is that regardless of performance numbers on paper, we've hit the wall for what we're expecting our devices to do. For my part, I say that, for now at least, specs are irrelevant. As long as the device is able to handle the tasks thrown at it without choking and has the features I'm looking for, it's a device worth considering. I think the Nexus series in particular has always embodied that point of view.

+ - "TrueCrypt must not die" - TrueCrypt continuation effort underway

Submitted by Runefox
Runefox (905204) writes "In the wake of the confusing and abrupt apparent demise of TrueCrypt, many have been left without a continuing, open source means of cross-platform encryption. TrueCrypt.ch, a Switzerland-hosted webpage, sprung up recently in a bid to reorganize and continue development of recently-discontinued TrueCrypt. While no development efforts have yet begun, according to their current development status:

Currently the news is still in flux, and we will support any efforts in reviving TrueCrypt. If other Initiatives arise we will try to support them. At the moment we want to make sure everyone who wants can continue to use TrueCrypt.

They have already gathered the TrueCrypt source code into GitHub and made available for download the latest working versions of TrueCrypt, with the disclaimer that they are currently unmaintained. According to the website, the choice to use Swiss web hosting was made because "If there have been legal problems with the US, the independent hosting in Switzerland will guarantee no interruption due to legal threats.""

+ - Cerulean Studios releases IMPP specifications

Submitted by Runefox
Runefox (905204) writes "Cerulean Studios, the company behind the long-lived Trillian instant messaging client, has released preliminary specifications to their proprietary "Astra" protocol, now named IMPP (Instant Messaging and Presence Protocol), which provides continuous client functionality as well as mandatory TLS encryption for clients. According to their blog, Cerulean Studios' motivation for the release is to promote interoperability among the throngs of IM services and clients available by allowing others to also use the protocol. Future concepts include federation with XMPP.

While the documentation is in an early state and the protocol is claimed to still be in development, it is hoped that it will help decentralize the very heavily fragmented messaging ecosystem. It's implied that, in turn, greater options for privacy may become available in the wake of the PRISM scandal via privately-run federated servers, unaffiliated with major networks, yet still able to communicate with them."

+ - Supreme Court Decides Your Silence May Be Used Against You->

Submitted by crackspackle
crackspackle (759472) writes "The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State of Texas earlier today in a murder trial where the defendant whom prior to be taken into custody, had been questioned by the police and choose to remain silent on key questions, This fact was bought up at trial and used to convict him. Most of us have seen at least enough cop shows to know police must read a suspect their Miranda rights when placing them in custody. The issue was a bit murkier here in that the defendant had not yet been detained and while we all probably thought the freedom from self-incrimination was an implicit right as stated in the Constitution, apparently SCOTUS now thinks you have to claim that right or at least be properly mirandized first."
Link to Original Source

+ - Teen's biofuel invention turns algae into fuel->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "This is great; she won a trip to Jet Propulsion Lab for her invention: 'For a fifth-grade science fair, Evie Sobczak found that the acid in fruit could power clocks; she connected a cut-up orange to a clock with wire and watched it tick. In seventh grade, she generated power by engineering paddles that could harness wind. And in eighth grade, she started a project that eventually would become her passion: She wanted to grow algae and turn it into biofuel.'"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Oh, Dunderdale... (Score 3, Informative) 205

by Runefox (#43475599) Attached to: Canadian Official Escorted From House For Others' Facebook Comments

Living in Newfoundland myself, I've been hearing non-stop about her exploits as premier lately. It seems she's bat-shit crazy - That is, moreso than the rest of us. Among some of the other things she's tried to do have been to seal public spending records to make it impossible to see what the province is doing with its money, slashing education budgets, aggressive politics, compulsive lying and just generally being a slimeball.

Her predecessor (from the same political party - the provincial equivalent to the Conservative party) fought tooth and nail against the Harper government, even going so far as to recommend voting against him, but she regularly rolls out the red carpet and kisses ass whenever the prime minister and his cronies are around. It's obvious that like most of our premiers, she only wants to get in good with the federal government so that she can move up to a position there, and really has no other concerns than that. Her tactics are almost identical to the Harper government, to boot.

Sad thing is, this keeps happening because people here vote based on their voting history, not their actual ideals or which party would do the best job.

Comment: Honestly now (Score 1) 276

by Runefox (#40895633) Attached to: What Happens To Your Used Games?

Just how much value does trading used games at Gamestop have over other avenues? Gamestop's entire business model relies on the trade of used games at rock-bottom prices so that they can then sell them at about a 500% (or higher) profit. Of course they sit on old stock for a while, but even at their fire-sale pricing for really ancient stuff they'd typically be breaking even.

The biggest problem is not that Gamestop offers the ability to trade used games for (credit towards) new games; The problem is that Gamestop offers incentives to trade new releases back as soon as possible, and then - crucially - turns around and immediately offers them for sale while undercutting the new releases, which does indeed hurt developers. While Halo 3 did phenomenally well when it launched, I personally saw many used copies available at a local EB Games on the shelf right next to the new copies on launch day. This is like making a home release of a movie available while it's still in theatrical release - It undercuts profits at a critical time.

I've said it before, but what needs to happen is to regulate when used copies are available on store shelves. Used games in themselves aren't evil, nor is the ability to trade back to the store early on. However, the way Gamestop and similar companies operate by making used copies available for sale immediately and advertising them alongside new (especially considering that a used game is, in theory, no different than a new game at this early stage) is the major driving force behind anti-used game tactics that publishers and developers are beginning to make use of.

If Gamestop wants its business model to continue without alienating developers like it has been, and without having to fight anti-used tactics like have been deployed recently, they need to step up to the plate and offer some kind of compromise on street dates where the "premiere" of a game is off-limits for used sale. Otherwise, the push for single-use digital distribution and locked-down hard-copies will only continue at an ever-increasing pace.

Comment: Great! (Score 1) 116

by Runefox (#40522807) Attached to: First Firefox Mobile OS Phones Announced

Just what we need, more market fragmentation! It's not like iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS / QNX, Bada, Windows Phone, and the plethora of Java-powered phones out there is enough.

Let's not forget the main reason why WebOS failed - Lack of platform support. Very few apps available, with little developer interest because they're already splitting their focus primarily between iOS and Android, which is already a huge drain. By comparison, even BB OS and Windows Phone have tiny developer followings and very small market penetration.

TL;DR, a Mozilla phone is a terrible idea, at least in theory. We'll have to see when they ship how they do, but I doubt they'll be able to make a dent in an already-saturated market with developer focus already split at least two or three different ways. It's hard to even imagine Mozilla on the radar for devs and consumers alike.

Comment: I'd just like to say this (Score 1) 424

by Runefox (#38165504) Attached to: Ubisoft Blames Piracy For Non-Release of PC Game

I am the 5%.

Not to Ubisoft, though. I don't know the last time I bought an Ubisoft title. Quite frankly, none of their games are all that interesting, and I'm not taking my chances with their DRM, either. I've got all of this generation's consoles, but really, if you're going to fuck with one platform, you kind of fucked with me regardless. Real smooth, Ubisoft.

Anyway, I kind of knew that Ubisoft's DRM scheme was all for the purpose of pushing to console-only development. I guess they'll save money by removing a platform from their development cycles (the way consoles are now, optimizing for them to get what we have now graphically isn't an easy task) and they won't have to worry about piracy anymore - Except they probably aren't actually losing an appreciable number of sales to piracy to begin with anyway.

Comment: Okay...? (Score 1) 233

by Runefox (#37510586) Attached to: HideMyAss.com Doesn't Hide Logs From the FBI

So basically, someone out there thought that a site like this was actually a legitimate way to shield from any kind of tracking?

And the fact that that someone was wrong is surprising?

They make their points very clear in the linked statement: The service is not intended to provide anonymity or shelter from legal repurcussions; They are there to provide a workaround for those who are being censored, to provide a way of bypassing "Great Firewalls", or simply to prevent your ISP or wireless network from seeing your HTTP requests. There is no expectation of privacy, and nor should there be. The same expectations are true of Tor and other "anonymity" initiatives (though Tor is inherently less open to tracking due to the way packets flow through the Tor network (that is to say, it's very decentralized)).

Sure, services like HMA partially obfuscate the trail, but they aren't bound by any agreement to guarantee your privacy, don't claim to, and ultimately will not.

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