Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Please explain (Score 1) 158

by abhi_beckert (#49661027) Attached to: Devices I have with a GPS reciever built in:

Doesn't only the cellular version of the iPad have a GPS? If so good for you I guess if you got the money to burn but I don't really see the use for a cellular equipped iPad and a cell phone (assuming the phone is a smart(ish) one). My telco robs me enough with one data plan :)

Cellular iPads default to being pay as you go for data. Just go into the settings app and buy a few gigs of data when you actually need it.

Some people do have them on a plan... but even then some carriers have "family" plans where you have a single bill for multiple devices.

And if you actually do use a lot of data, then having a dedicated plan for the iPad works out fairly well. Lets do the math:

A 16GB WiFi only iPad is $499 from Apple Australia, but if I used it a lot with tethering I'd have to upgrade my phone's data pack. Adding an extra 3GB will increase my phone bill by $30 per month.

Alternatively, I could buy the same iPad with a 4GB/month data plan over 24 months for [url=]$55/month with my carrier[/url] – and $0 upfront, the iPad is "free".

That's $1,219 for a WiFi iPad with 3GB of data per month, or $1,375 for a Cellular iPad with 4GB of data per month. Slightly more expensive but much more convenient and a larger data plan.

So, assuming you actually do use your iPad out of WiFi range frequently it's not crazy to have a cellular plan.

Comment: Re:Google reminds me of MS in the late '90s (Score 1) 90

by abhi_beckert (#49660467) Attached to: How To Set Up a Pirate EBook Store In Google Play Books

To be fair, I don't know if Steve Ballmer would even know how to use Powerpoint, or Microsoft Word, if he didn't have an assistant that did it for him.

A quick check of wikipedia shows Balmer had very high scores in mathematics and engineering. He also studied business but dropped out.

I'm pretty sure he knows how to type into a word processor.

Comment: Re:Here is the text (Score 3, Insightful) 99

by abhi_beckert (#49179517) Attached to: Has the Supreme Court Made Patent Reform Legislation Unnecessary?

The main complaint about the patent reform bill is that it institutes a "loser pays" system that will make it impossible for small inventors to bring suit against large corporations. The AIA (the last reform bill) already substantially increased the cost that individual inventors had to pay to be able to sue large corporations.

What "small inventors"?

The cost to file a patent is already so high that small inventors do not ever patent anything. It's a total waste of time to try and protect them because they are a class of people who simply do not exist at all.

A far bigger problem is when small companies, say ones with five or six employees, are sued for patent infringement. They can't afford to defend themselves even if they don't infringe on the patent. If you could rack up millions of dollars defending yourself and have the patent holder be forced to pay your legal fees if the court rules that you did not infringe on their patent, then that would be quite an improvement. Then lawyers would be willing to work pro bono in patent defence lawsuits.

Comment: Re:Necissary, not sufficient. (Score 1) 99

by abhi_beckert (#49179411) Attached to: Has the Supreme Court Made Patent Reform Legislation Unnecessary?

Granted, the biggest problem with the patent system has been that the criteria for patentability has been so loose, and the recent Supreme Court rulings will certainly do more to fix that root cause than the recent patent reform bills. Hopefully going forward these new rulings will improve the quality of patents approved and upheld in court, which is by far the single most important reform needed in the long run.

I think you're misguided. The criteria for patentability has never been bad, and has actually gotten worse since the recent change to "first to file".

The problem is it's impossible for anyone to know what can or cannot be patented without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring an entire team of lawyers to search through the back catalogue of patents and inventions and court precedents.

The patent office does not have enough staff to do proper research while a patent is being filed. If they did proper research, they would only be able to approve a handful of patents per year with the number of employees currently working at the PTO.

This means the patent office has no choice but to approve patents that may or may not be valid, and the only way to truly test if a patent is valid is by accusing somebody of violating a patent, and having the defendant refuse to settle out of court —choosing instead to spend two years investigating the patent trying to prove that it's invalid.

Even huge corporations like Apple and Samsung don't have deep enough pockets to defend themselves properly when a bogus patent is filed against them. They have to pick and choose two or three patents per year that they're willing to defend in court, while settling out of court for every other patent holder who demands royalties.

It simply isn't possible for a small company to defend themselves at all, their only viable option is to settle out of court which inevitably means nobody actually knows whether or not the patent is valid. After years of watching this issue closely I have never seen a small company defend themselves in court. Some have tried, but every single one gives up and settles out of court half way through the process. Some times they get lucky and the patent holder drops the charges and stops asking for royalties, but that's not the same as actually defending yourself properly and having a jury rule in your favour. Only big companies like Apple and Newegg are able to do that and they've only done it five or six times in their entire company history.

Personally I don't see how any reform could possibly fix the problem. There are certainly ways to improve the situation but I don't think anything can truly fix it. I've never seen anybody suggest a viable solution.

Comment: Re:How much longer will Foxconn need Apple? (Score 1, Interesting) 109

by abhi_beckert (#48415637) Attached to: Nokia's N1 Android Tablet Is Actually a Foxconn Tablet

Depends what you're running on it. If you run a minimal OS with limited options on a processor or a more complex OS will make a difference. That and Android has to run on any phone, so efficiëncy is probably lost there too.

No it doesn't have anything to do with that. Apple's CPUs are just better. A lot better.

Even basic stuff like copying memory from one location in the CPU to another location is drastically faster on an iOS processor. The latest iPad Air is as fast as a low end Intel x86 chip... and the iPad chip does it with *far* less battery drain than the intel one.

This tablet has a low end x86 chip, which means it will be faster than any ARM processor money can buy... except for Apple's ARM processors.

Comment: Re:Wait a second, this is very interesting. (Score 2) 109

by abhi_beckert (#48415617) Attached to: Nokia's N1 Android Tablet Is Actually a Foxconn Tablet

What else is distinctive about an iPad apart from those two things? Really, all tablets look the same. They're basically just a rectangular touch-screen. About the only variations possible in their hardware are colour, size, and buttons - and some utilitarian designs as to which ports are located where, which are hardly distinctive.

Sure... except that this one has exactly the same colour (although Apple has three colours and they have only copied two of them), exactly the same size, exactly the same buttons in exactly the same locations, ports in exactly the same location except that Apple has two rows in their speaker grill and this has three rows of holes and it has USB-Type C instead of Lightning (which are also visually indistinguishable from each other).

The design is so close one has to wonder if they are actually using the same machinery for some of the components between this tablet and the iPad. They really are that similar.

Comment: Re:Wait a second, this is very interesting. (Score 1) 109

by abhi_beckert (#48415599) Attached to: Nokia's N1 Android Tablet Is Actually a Foxconn Tablet

Nope, only the phone division of Nokia was sold to Microsoft... this product is by one of the other divisions of Nokia not part of Microsoft.

There are no "other" divisions of Nokia. All of the employees who worked in every other division is now a Microsoft employee.

All that remains at Nokia is a skeleton of upper management (and not even that really, most of those work for Microsoft now too. Including Nokia's CEO).

At least until they re-invent themselves Nokia is basically a patent and intellectual property troll and a brand name. They have sold their name to Foxconn for use on it's own product.

Comment: Re:Easy with Gentoo (Score 2) 106

by abhi_beckert (#48231371) Attached to: Building All the Major Open-Source Web Browsers

That's exactly what people who make distributions do. If you want to see how complicated the build is for any piece of software, just look at how complicated the build scripts are for various distributions.

I think it's a bad idea to rely on distributors to do this work. With my projects, I always try to make the build process as simple as possible.

If somebody is thinking about maybe contributing to the project, I want it to be completely painless.

It doesn't always work out, especially with third party dependencies, but I try to keep the build process as simple as checkout source code, and build it. No configuration at all. Obviously you can configure stuff, but there should be a default that will work for almost everyone.

Comment: Re:One crap audio brand battling with another (Score 1) 328

"Flat" relating to headphones usually means a flat frequency response, unless you are talking to people who don't have a clue (which is a very real possibility). A flat frequency response is the goal of a high fidelity system, the very word "fidelity" means trueness to the original source, which is what you get with a flat frequency response. The idea that a speaker needs to distort the sound because it "sounds good" is absurd, and in fact it's the exact same rationale audiofools have for preferring vinyl. Vinyl inherently has an uneven frequency response (among other things) and it is those characteristics that give it is distinctive sound, leading some to prefer it. It is distinctive but it is low fidelity, just like a poor set of speakers. Besides, if you want the treble or bass jacked up or some other frequency band notched, that's what equalizers are for. Although it should be noted they are called equalizers because the intent is to bring an equal loudness to all frequency bands - aka, a flat frequency response. To compensate for speakers that are not already flat.

Anybody with enough money for a pair of good audiophile headphones will be buying the "pro" beats, which have neutral sound by all reports (I've never tested them).

Comment: Re: Application sandboxing (Score 2, Informative) 577

by abhi_beckert (#48042645) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

Except that "modern mobile devices" get messed up and bogged down exactly the same way - even if the apps are supposed to be sandboxed.
There is one million os wide settings , or system apps and services that can get screwed up and their internally stored data will start causing issues.
Is the battery drain on your android the same as it was after factory reset ? Didn't think so.

Android doesn't sandbox apps.

iOS does, and it doesn't suffer from this problem. All software is given a directory that they can read from/write to. There are a few places outside that which can be read, but virtually nothing has write access (except for a few cases where a system app will expose access to it's data via inter-app communication. Calendar for example has this).

When you uninstall the app, that directory is deleted. There is no trace at all that the app ever existed.

Comment: Re: Here's the solution (Score 2) 577

by abhi_beckert (#48042631) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

When a program is UNinstalled, all traces of it should be gone. Apple took a different approach, which arguably works far better. Even if stuff is left behind, it just takes up a bit of disk space, and doesn't affect the system at all.

Apple took a different approach on iOS.

OS X suffers the same problems as Windows, although perhaps not as severe.

Comment: Not Brute Force (Score 3, Interesting) 93

by abhi_beckert (#47989053) Attached to: Apple Allegedly Knew of iCloud Brute-Force Vulnerability Since March

"Balic goes on to explain to Apple that he was able to try over 20,000 passwords combinations on any account."

20,000 is not a brute force attack. That will only succeed if your password was 3 characters long.

I find it hard to believe anyone was actually vulnerable to this.

Kiss your keyboard goodbye!