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Comment: Do cellphone chargers require USB negotiation? (Score 1) 166

by smellsofbikes (#47575487) Attached to: "BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

The most obvious route for disaster is a compromised cellphone charger, at least for my usage patterns. Since it'd take me about ten minutes to make a pez-candy-sized PCB with USB-micro-M and USB-micro-F connectors with only the power lines connected between them, I'm wondering if an android phone will charge when it's getting power, regardless of whether the USB is connected, or it won't charge until it's had a USB chat. I recall older devices being able to charge at lower-power (150mA?) but having to negotiate for 500mA. I'm perfectly happy to settle for 150mA for right now, until I can program a little AVR to fake the negotiation process and make me an air-gap charger. I don't have a usb traffic sniffer at work, and am about to lose my pcb fabrication equipment for a couple of weeks, so if I could find out today if it's worth making the pcb I'd do it this afternoon. Anyone know?

Comment: Re:schadenfreude (Score 1) 105

by JustNiz (#47575353) Attached to: Crytek USA Collapses, Sells Game IP To Other Developers

>> in 2007 when it launched it was literally impossible to run it at the best settings.

Sorry but completely not true.
Admittedly my PC had a high-end video card and CPU for its time, but Crysis definately ran fine with best settings on my rig.

As I recall, the larger negative issue about Crysis was that it was VERY buggy on release, and to make matters worse, the game was pretty much already old news and in the discount bins by the time Crytek finally started releasing patches for it.

It seemed that Crysis/Crytek was just one of the many victims of a bunch of clueless MBA beancounters that seemed to be taking over every tech company back then. it seemed that many tech companies were suddenly switching culture from being very aware of the importance of shipping quality products, to incorrectly thinking they could get away with shipping any old broken crap as long as they met some arbitrary internal deadline.

Comment: Re:Trust (Score 2) 94

by DoofusOfDeath (#47574365) Attached to: "ExamSoft" Bar Exam Software Fails Law Grads

Those are preparing to be lawyers, not judges or prosecutors.

I thought that even civil and defense lawyers are considered officers of the court.

I also think that even they are given certain powers not available to regular citizens, such as issuing subpoenas. I thought that was one of the reasons for requiring even them to be of good character.

Comment: Re:Paywall (Score 1) 187

by DoofusOfDeath (#47573429) Attached to: Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

Same thing for me. I'm naturally biased against paying exorbitant prices for papers that the publisher received for free. So for my PhD work I basically avoided using papers that were only available by paying ACM, IEEE, or Elsevier.

Fortunately, in the age of CiteSeer, Google Scholar, and authors who publish their own papers even if they've submitted them to journals, I was able to boycott those publishers and still get my PhD done. Also, having a good team of technical librarians goes a long way.

5-10 years ago though, I'm not sure I could have so easily avoided paying money to those publishers.

Comment: Re:Great when you're in school (Score 1) 187

by DoofusOfDeath (#47573373) Attached to: Vint Cerf on Why Programmers Don't Join the ACM

Yeah, same for me. The ACM journals IEEE Transactions were really useful reading while I was working on my Master's. By the time I got to my PhD work though, the combination of Google Scholar, CiteSeer, and papers being available over the internet (probably in contravention to author's agreements with the journals that published the paper) made ACM and IEEE irrelevant.

It seems to me that the only part of ACM's publication system that's still relevant is the selection and vetting of good papers for their journals. So maybe they should just continue that editorial process, and periodically publish those papers as PDF's on their website. Heck, I bet Google or Amazon or MIT would host that for free.

I think that would test whether or not ACM is focused more on advancing computing as a science vs. maintaining its own bureaucracy.

Comment: Re:Sell the books when you are done. (Score 1) 277

by Overzeetop (#47573273) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

It is a bit of a bother

Books (paperbacks) seem to sell for about 1/3 of they "new" cost as used - or $0-$4 per book; many sell for nothing more than a $4 shipping fee (about $2.50 of which is postage). Even if you buy used and resell, you're going through the hassle of selling, packaging, and shipping a book for $1.50. Now, that's certainly more than nothing, but you start wondering very quickly if it's even worth your time to list, package, and ship those books.

Comment: The losses all add up... (Score 1) 277

by Overzeetop (#47573235) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

Well, after subtracting the 3% that goes to Visa/Mastercard, that leaves the retailer, editor, publisher, and website manager a 1% loss to split amongst themselves.

Of course, you could do it like the recording industry and give the authors a big share on paper, and then charge them ridiculous "retail" rates for all those services. But then you'd find out that, at the end of the run, the author is still in the red and receives practically nothing. At least in Amazon's accounting, the author is getting gross points.

Comment: Elasticity can be more fine grained in eBooks (Score 1) 277

by Overzeetop (#47573213) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

Since there is near-zero cost of producing the nth unit for sale, even small changes in elasticity are valuable to the entire chain. It may not have been worthwhile for their example if the production of the physical hardcover copy costs $3.25 to produce - the increase in sales would be a wash. With eBooks, though, there are no print runs or disposal costs - there's no reason not to maximize number of copies as long as the gross receipts is maximized.

Comment: The iTMS App store is a strange beast (Score 3, Insightful) 229

by Overzeetop (#47571263) Attached to: Is the App Store Broken?

Imagine you have a store the size of you typical WalMart Supercenter, packed with aisle upon aisle of app boxes. There are 5-6 generalized sections, and absolutely no organization within the sections - apps just set in rows on the shelf. Except it's not even that convenient, because when you walk into the store you are in a small space with what are effectively endcaps for each section. To get through to the rest of the store, you have to go around the side of this front display area through a small, unmarked door. So you usually just pick what's on the endcap and checkout because even for people who have wandered into the main body of the store, they find it's just stocked with thousands upon thousands of seemingly identical products for a single task - most of which mirror an app that's on the end cap with a 4+ star review from a million users.

It's dysfunctional, but in a very Apple way.

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