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Comment Re:If I'm going down, I'm taking you with me (Score 1) 456

The funny part, to me, is that Apple strong-arms the carriers into not putting bloatware on their devices. When a hardware OEM is powerful enough to boss around one of the Ma Bell misfits, to the point of completely bypassing their 2 month long OTA / bloatware integration testing process, you know they're powerful.

The reason why this is possible is quite simple: Verizon knows that consumers want Apple products, there's a lot of market demand for them, so if they don't carry Apple, they will lose tons of revenue to the carriers that do.

I think Google meets the same criteria. At least in my mind, not being able to ship official Android devices with the proprietary Google apps would be a pretty big "threat" to put to a carrier. Why can't Google just say, "You either ship Google-blessed devices without your bloatware, or I'll revoke permission to put our proprietary apps on your phones!"? It's not like someone is going to come along and start a successful Android fork/competitor without the Google apps and people will be happy with it. I mean, look at Amazon Fire. The entire business is a complete failure, especially the Fire Phone.

Comment Re:Ron Burgundy: "That doesn't make sense" (Score 2) 261

Simple.

1. He has the original track on some kind of non-volatile storage (probably a microUSB card).
2. He has a tight loop where he reads that file out of non-volatile storage into RAM, then writes it to /dev/null (which is a no-op kernel-side, but there may be another memory copy involved), then frees the buffer, reads it from non-volatile storage again...

Because the implementation of /dev/null's "write" method is to return the number of bytes passed in as an argument, all you're really doing is copying it around to different regions of system memory. So, technically, you could just have a tight loop where you have a copy of the song in one buffer, then memcpy() it to the second buffer, free the second buffer, and repeat.

Comment Nope (Score 1) 1

Linux desktop still has a lot of power that you can't get on a Chromebook. Specifically in the areas of gaming, software development and content creation.

Right now I'm listening to music on Spotify (not the abysmal web player, either); playing a Windows-only, AAA, MMO released in 2012 through Wine (and it runs perfectly with no lag or bugs or even degraded graphics); talking to friends on Teamspeak 3; and idly poking at some code in a terminal. Can ChromeOS do that? Can it do it better than I can on, say, Ubuntu 15.10? Hard to imagine, since I barely put any effort at all into configuring this system, never really went under the hood to make things work. I literally just installed it and started using it after a few clicks to install the Nvidia binary driver.

Submission + - Software Freedom Conservancy's Funding Under Attack by VMware & Others (sfconservancy.org)

An anonymous reader writes: For those who aren't aware the Software Freedom Conservancy has been battling VMware for years, not just in court, but financially and morally. After the Conservancy spent years trying to get VMware to comply with the GPL license it was obligated to comply with (and not doing so) the Conservancy was left with no option other than to file a lawsuit. The Conservancy and Linux kernel maintainer Christopher Hellwig’s filed suit in Germany this past March. Since then VMware has pressured many organizations and important industry players who had previously sponsored the Conservancy to pull funding. The thinking goes if you can kill the organization the lawsuit will end. Now they're even threating conference organizers. Unfortunately there is no match. VMware is well funded and the Conservancy is not. As a result many conferences are kicking the Conservancy out and/or blocking its attendance. The organization now more than ever needs individual supporters to continue its work. The Conservancy needs 750 Supporters to continue its basic community services & 2,500 to avoid hibernating its enforcement efforts! Will you please donate?

Submission + - Kim Dotcom loses extradition case in NZ.

BitterOak writes: Kim Dotcom has lost his extradition trial in NZ and will now have to face trial in the US to face charges of money laundering, racketeering, and copyright violation.

Submission + - Are Linux users moving to Chrome OS and Android? (cio.com) 1

sfcrazy writes: A story in CIO reads: Despite the new Plasma 5, improved Gnome and elementary OS, Linux distros have reached stagnation. New distros try new UIs, but in terms of what you can do on Linux, desktop Linux remains where it was a year ago. Then Swapnil Bhartiya, the author of the story predicts: As our computing is moving to the cloud and ‘software as service,’ more Linux users will switch to Chrome OS and Android as their primary system.

How many Linux users have moved to Chrome OS? I know one SJVN who now shows his Chromebook everywhere and there are many more.

Submission + - Karma Go LTE Hotspot Disallows WiFi Encryption (yourkarma.com)

allquixotic writes: Karma Go is a hotspot backed by Sprint's 4G network, which exposes the cellular data connection as a WiFi hotspot. It's a very tempting offer, mainly because of the option for truly unlimited data: you're capped at 5 Mbps throughput, but you can use that 5 Mbps as much as you want. In practice, this means you could consume much more data in a month than other cellular-backed connections would allow, at a much lower cost per gigabyte.

The service is fatally flawed, however: the device offers no way to password-protect or encrypt your connection, so others nearby can intercept your unencrypted traffic and gather metadata on your encrypted traffic to their hearts' content. They can also connect and fire off a bunch of big downloads, slowing your connection to a crawl. If you were tempted by this service but unaware of their apparently-intentional "sharing" strategy — whose gory details are hidden in their help documentation — you might want to reconsider after learning that you can't prevent others from connecting and taking up your bandwidth, and the only way to secure your traffic is to spend yet more money for a VPN.

It's probably fine for rural homes outside WiFi range of any untrusted individuals, though, if you get Sprint 4G service in your area.

Submission + - SpaceX Lands Falcon 9 Rocket At Cape Canaveral

Rei writes: At 8:40 PM today, SpaceX successfully launched and relanded the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral, as well as delivering to orbit the last portion of ORBCOMM's communication satellite constellation. This also marks SpaceX's return to flight and the first launch of the "Full Thrust" Falcon 9 v1.1 with densified (extremely chilled) propellants. The company will now shift its efforts toward catching up on its backlog, investigating and refurbishing its landed first stage, and preparing for the maiden flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket this spring. Congratulations to everyone at SpaceX!

Submission + - Google Joins Mozilla, Microsoft in Pushing for Early SHA-1 Crypto Cutoff (csoonline.com)

itwbennett writes: Due to recent research showing that SHA-1 is weaker than previously believed, Mozilla, Microsoft and now Google are all considering bringing the deadline forward by six months to July 1, 2016. Websites like Facebook and those protected by CloudFlare have implemented a SHA-1 fallback mechanism. Both companies have argued that there are millions of people in developing countries that still use browsers and operating systems that do not support SHA-2, the replacement function for SHA-1, and will therefore be cut off from encrypted websites that move to SHA-2 certificates.

Comment Re:a huge number of us did that. (Score 1) 173

I learned in the 1960's. There was no internet to learn from.

How do people think people learned anything before the internet? It's amazing that humans ever made writing systems and internal combustion engines, without the internet, eh?

Yes, it is quite amazing that we achieved all we did with so little. That's why history is a fascinating subject. In many ways a lot of what was happening during World War II was just as technologically sophisticated as what we do today, and they didn't even have much in the way of analog computers to help them.

However, I'm sure people who lived in the early 20th century felt it would be equally difficult to get work done without written language and the printing press. It's hard to imagine someone building a catapult or even a hut without a way to write down equations expressing geometric relationships and Newtonian mechanics, but I'm pretty sure humans already had a significant technological edge over the rest of the animal kingdom long before we had writing, and certainly before we had written symbolic representation and methodical study of mathematics.

Commonplace knowledge and technology may not seem amazing to us today, but the way that it came about -- the way it was discovered and developed -- is always amazing to learn about, because it's the story of pioneers, the story of people who reached far beyond what was ordinary for their day, and brought something new, memorable and worth keeping track of in the historical record, to humanity. And they often did it without access to some of the most fundamental communication tools we have available today.

One wonders if, centuries from now, a student of history might consider it noteworthy or remarkable that we were able to engineer computers of such complexity as we have today, without access to... well, whatever principles or practices of communication that we haven't even begun to grasp, yet, but will one day become the new normal.

I hope so. I don't think humanity should ever give up the practice of recording history and remembering what got us to where we are today. As a species, we're already very irresponsible with our lives and our resources, extremely prone to repeat past mistakes, and forgetful of the perspective that history brings us, even though history itself has seen more public attention, more scholarly effort, and more funding in the present day than it ever has before. It's scary to think of a future where we simply stop caring about history and just look toward the future. I hope that doesn't happen.

Comment Re:"Failed" push for renewables? (Score 1) 366

I don't think the article lives or dies by that "premise", though. It may be that the author threw that premise out there as a way to jab at his ideological opponents (or at least those who he feels are opposed to nuclear, since most folks pushing renewables the hardest think that no other solution is needed), but I don't think the article becomes invalid if you drop that premise.

He's making a case for nuclear, not a case against renewables. The funny thing is that pro-nuclear people don't want to stop or impede the renewables industry in any way; both renewable and nuclear folks want the fossil fuel folks to be run out of business due to the availability of alternatives; but (many, not all) folks pushing renewables would also like to see the nuclear industry go away.

I don't think some renewables advocates realize just how much energy society actually needs. It would take centuries for renewables to grow to a production output that equals today's fossil fuel output, let alone the fact that fossil fuel energy consumption continues to increase exponentially. The problem is that renewables' output is a very small exponential growth curve (small base value and small exponent) trying to "chase down" a much, much larger base value with a formidable exponent. Renewables might start growing faster (have a faster exponent) than fossil fuels, but unless it's something like every kilowatt of new renewables is only matched by a watt of new fossil fuel production, renewables are not growing fast enough to save us from climate change and/or resource exhaustion of fossil fuels and the ensuing energy shortage.

While it's true that any form of nuclear is not "renewable" and has finite resource (fission with traditional fuels, fission with "new" fuels like thorium or breeder cycles, etc., even fusion), nuclear power has the unique trait of being the most energy dense fuel we have. A single reactor, with relatively small inputs and relatively small area (compared to the amount of area you'd need for renewables, or the volume of petroleum you'd need for fossil), is the most effective use of land and mass that we have available for producing power. It's much easier for a revitalized nuclear industry to replace the fossil fuels in our energy budget than for renewables to do the same.

That's not to say renewables should stop their development or that they shouldn't try. They should! But the point of the article is that a new nuclear industry can be cheaper AND safer than before, while producing even higher power yields from new nuclear chemistries, and effectively run the fossil fuel electricity industry out of business based purely on economics, let alone any sort of policy factors that might help along their demise. This would give us the ability to leisurely deplete our much larger stores of new nuclear fuels over the next several centuries, with very little environmental impact, while we figure out how to replace nuclear with something truly sustainable. The alternative is to keep fossil fuels around, and face a catastrophic economic crash and probably global war when we run out of coal, natural gas and oil.

Comment Re:Complete video stream pre-rolling (Score 1) 508

Having the option to manually select a quality level, even if there's a smart algorithm "by default" that determines quality based on connection speed, would be the optimal scenario for user experience.

Come to think of it, I can state in detailed requirements terms exactly what I think this should look like.

So you have your standard "toolbar" of media controls on a video player. Play/pause button, a horizontal scale to let you skip around in the video, a volume control, full screen toggle. Now add in (either in a sub-menu upon clicking a gear icon or other settings meme, or directly in the media controls toolbar) two more options:

1. A checkbox labeled "Pre-roll". Default: unchecked. If checked, three things happen. One, you are unable to seek (skip) around in the stream while it's checked. Two, your download rate is capped at 2x the bitrate of the stream you're downloading. Three, if your quality selection is set to "Auto", the quality of the downloaded stream is the maximum quality available that's supported on the device.

2. A drop-down list labeled "Quality". The default setting is "Auto" (determine quality based on bandwidth - like most current video services). Then offer qualities as low as, say, 240p, and as high as the native quality of the source media or otherwise the highest quality offered by the service. Each quality should maintain the aspect ratio, though.

Comment Re:Complete video stream pre-rolling (Score 1) 508

I find it a dubious claim that if you unlocked pre-rolling that you'd waste a lot of bandwidth, especially if you limited the download rate to 2x the bitrate of the stream. So for example if the stream runs at 8 Mbps, you would prevent your servers from sending data to the client (except, perhaps, in very short bursts if they're about to run out of buffered data) any faster than 16 Mbps. If the stream is paused for a long time, you could even drop that down to 1x the bitrate (8 Mbps).

So if someone opens a new tab, pauses the video for 10 minutes out of a 50 minute stream and then closes the tab, and they have a 100 Mbps downlink, they'll still only have downloaded no more than 20 minutes out of the 50 minutes of the video in that 10 minutes. If you didn't cap the downstream rate, they'd have downloaded the entire video in that interval.

You can also add in more client-side tricks like detecting if the user is actively viewing your video player's tab or if they've task switched (I've seen a few HTML Canvas and other JS tricks that can try to fudge that detection), and pause pre-rolling if they switch tabs.

That way, people who REALLY want (no, need) to pre-roll in order to not experience degraded quality or dropouts due to a slow connection, would be able to pre-roll, but those with high-speed connections who never actually watch the video would not inundate your network with undue load.

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