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Comment: Re:ARM laptop, please? (Score 1) 109

by dublin (#46776363) Attached to: Intel Pushes Into Tablet Market, Pushes Away From Microsoft

Why on earth should I really care what kind of CPU is in my laptop, *especially* if the OS runs on either x86 or ARM?

I think the whole point of the discussion here is that both hardware architectures and OS choices are becoming increasingly fungible, and that trend may only accelerate...

I'm with you on the quality digitizer/touchscreen, though...

Comment: Re:Is it dead? (Score 1) 109

by dublin (#46776329) Attached to: Intel Pushes Into Tablet Market, Pushes Away From Microsoft

Yep, and you need a 30-100 MB app for pretty much every little task you do. A good OS, built the right way, provides a strong set of basic tools that can be used together to do almost anything the user wants. Personally, I *do* want a real OS on a tablet - because there are just way too many real-world tasks that tablets either can't do at all or can only do with ridiculous levels of complexity and frustration. Real filesystems are just the beginning. FWIW, I'd rank the usability of tablet OSes for real-world use as first, Full Windows, then WinRT closely followed by IOS, with Android bringing up the rear. If there were a Chrome tablet (and WHY ISN"T THERE?), it would likely fall between the two Windows versions, and Ubuntu could well grab the lead if they can find any good hardware to optimize for...

Mark Shuttleworth and the rest of the Ubuntu guys get this, and that's why they're plowing ahead no matter the naysayers. Also, "full-fat" doesn't necessarily mean actually fat - IIRC, the first Unix System 7 CAD workstation I used had 4 MB of RAM, a huge 40 MB hard disk, and a stunning 1 MIP 68K processor with an incredible 1280x1024 display. Today's mobile processors have compute power only found in supercomputers not many years ago. Look at Puppy to see how slim you can make a "full-fat" Linux OS, even with a modern kernel and apps...

BTW, no OS exists in today's tablet/GUI world to let you easily snap together your own tools from a rich set of components - that requires GUI integration of the stream/operator paradigm as implemented in UNIX (but with different syntax and semantics making the gozintas and gozouttas intuitive), transparently merged with the browser and able to leverage not only local, but also remote web assets and applications. Add touch and non-touch dynamic gestural interfaces, and you've really got something...

Comment: Re:Is it dead? (Score 2) 109

by dublin (#46776173) Attached to: Intel Pushes Into Tablet Market, Pushes Away From Microsoft

Microsoft is really onto something with the whole Surface Pro idea, and It boggles my mind that not a single one of the "regular" OEMs have managed to build anything even in the same league. This product alone is justification for Microsoft being in the non-peripheral hardware business, despite the OEM friction it undoubtedly causes.

The Surface Pro is further proof that Steve Jobs was flat wrong when he said of iPad competitors, "If you see a stylus, they blew it!"

First of all, a quality digitizer pen is not a stylus. Second, and far more importantly, there are *really* good reasons why we gave up drawing and writing with rocks and fingers, and started using sticks, brushes, and pens instead...

Comment: Re:ARM is the new Intel (Score 0) 109

by dublin (#46776091) Attached to: Intel Pushes Into Tablet Market, Pushes Away From Microsoft

Windows on the tablet is pretty darn attractive - I've tried iPad, Android and Windows RT tablets, and *ALL* of them are missing things you really need. (Decent local filesystems and the ability to *fully* support the Internet, even for ugly-ass things like Flash and PDF, as well as reasonable printing support (RT only supports new printers) aren't optional.

BTW, this is really an argument for a full OS, not specifically for Windows. Good hardware for a full Ubuntu tablet (not Nexus crap, which is designed for a crippled OS like Android) could be a game-changer, too...

I've got a friend who says the Surface Pro 2 is not only the best tablet out there, but also quite simply the best and most useful computing device of *any* kind he's ever owned, especially with the docking station.

If Microsoft sees fit to build a Surface Pro 3 with the same awesome digitizer (required for quality sketching and/or artwork), more/cheaper storage, at least 8 GB of RAM and a 13-14" Pixel-like screen, at roughly the same weight as the Pro 2, I'll be standing in line to throw more money at them than I've spent on a computer in years...

Comment: Re:This was positive (Score 1) 552

by dublin (#46761557) Attached to: How Does Heartbleed Alter the 'Open Source Is Safer' Discussion?

So there was a bug in OpenSSL. Big bug, yes, but that's not the reason it was (and still is!) a big problem.

The genesis of the big problem is one of monoculture, not only of OpenSSL being the dominant SSL implementation, but probably more importantly, the fact that pretty much all Internet security that is accessible and matters to ordinary users is SSL/TLS in the first place.

If you think this is bad, imagine what happens if the fundamantals of SSL itself are compromised: What would we replace it with? How, considering this is effectively the only secure connection technology available across all common OSes and embedded devices? How long would that take? (Years, at least, I'd wager...)

What we need is more flexible security methods in the first place, and open, standard implementations (like OpenSSL, but growable) that can allow us to proactively extend security methods as the net matures, and *quickly* address bug-based vulnerabilities when that approach fails. (Note that this may require the implementation of some kind of standard "secuirity code VM", so new code and new methods can be easily distributed even to older systems that may not be fully supported anymore. And no, I'm not glossing over things like limits on code space, memory, and the like, nothing will allow every system to be upgraded, but we do need some way to allow and authenticate that (while preventing bad guys, including governments, from using the mechanism to create weaknesses.))

Comment: App fatigue is real... (Score 1) 163

by dublin (#46751751) Attached to: The Best Parking Apps You've Never Heard Of and Why You Haven't

I was talking with a fairly large group of tech-savvy friends here in Austin the other day, and it was nearly unanimous - the last thing we ever want is another damn app to download, constantly whine for updating, and try to find among the other 200 crap apps on our phones or tablets. We coined this rising level of disgust "App Fatigue"...

Web apps could conceivably be a decent alternative, but only if someone gives me Settings option checkboxes labelled,

[ ] Never, ever, show me the crippled mobile version of any website at all, as long as I live., (preferred) or maybe,

[ ] Always lie to web servers so they think this is a desktop computer with a real browser. Because it's more powerful than my desktop computer, and has a real browser.

Comment: Re:Someone is against this? (Score 1) 358

by dublin (#46496107) Attached to: EU Votes For Universal Phone Charger

I know this is a really radical idea, but perhaps instead of a bunch of government regulatory czars making technology decrees that they are hopelessly unable to comprehend, maybe, just maybe, we should let the market sort out the winners and losers rather than mandate them up front as a fait accompli. Just sayin'...

(Oh, and although I firmly hope to never have to drive an electric car, I think the mere existence of the new "Frankenplug" EV connector proves my point...)

Comment: Re:Dumb (Score 0) 358

by dublin (#46496035) Attached to: EU Votes For Universal Phone Charger

You put it in, and it doesn't fit, so you turn it over.
You put it in again, it doesn't fit, so you turn it back over.
Now it fits.

And if it's like the one on my daughter's Kindle, that's because one of those insertions bent the shield enough that the connector can be inserted the wrong way, so that very soon, you'll break the little plastic piece inside the connector, essentially rendering your Kindle trash.

Ironically, this boneheaded government mandate will lead to far *more* e-waste than actually letting companies and their customers decide what works without the divine wisdom of a bunch of socialist lawyer potentates in Brussels....

No thanks, EUroweenies, I'd rather be free to choose a connector that actually works. I certainly would love to never see another microUSB connector again, as it's probably the worst power connector on the planet. (And it took some doing to beat the monstrously clunky UK power plug...) The *only* decent application for micro USB is for devices that are never unplugged, like some small consumer electronics equipment/appliances - it's *completely* unsuitable for anything that needs to be plugged or unplugged frequently.

Comment: Re:Dichotomy (Score 1) 731

by dublin (#46328517) Attached to: Death Hovers Politely For Americans' Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards

Actually, we prefer to pay with little pieces of green paper. It's much more secure than the plastic stuff, chip, pin, or whatnot...

We used to use money that had actual value, but that perfectly logical practice was deemed barbaric by our betters in the last century.

As Scott McNealy famously said (and was pilloried for here on Slashdot, IIRC), "You've got no privacy anyway - get over it."

Comment: Re:It's about time. (Score 1) 731

by dublin (#46328293) Attached to: Death Hovers Politely For Americans' Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards

Turns out UPS (but not FedEx) will deliver anywhere with an address - even a vacant lot. A buddy of mine had his card used to buy thousands of dollars worth of TVs and other home entertainment electronics that were delivered to a vacant lot in Round Rock. The bad guys just waited for the truck to leave, then swooped in and loaded up. Far as I know, they were never caught. (To be fair, this was a few years ago, one would hope UPS has changed their policy on this....)

Comment: Re:It's about time. (Score 1) 731

by dublin (#46328043) Attached to: Death Hovers Politely For Americans' Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards

You're assuming people even *can* look at their statements in something like an real-time fashion.

A great many of us (even here at /.) deliberately disable any and all "online banking" features, simply because we *know* they're not secure. If someone compromises my card (it would have to be someone else, since I don't allow *any* online account access) , then unless the bank or card bureau calls me, I have no way to know until I get my next statement in the mail. (No, I don't allow electronic statements, either.)

BTW, I was comparing notes with a good friend of mine the other day - he's one of the world's leading experts on software engineering (his seminal paper is cited more than any other), and he's even tostricter on this stuff than I am - and for *all* the right reasons.

Comment: DC06 announced & cancelled in early 2000's (Score 1) 125

by dublin (#46225473) Attached to: Dyson Invests £5 Million To Create 'Intelligent Domestic Robots'

I thought it was interesting that the article mentioned that Dyson has never released a robot vacuum, but then failed to note that the company did *announce* a robot vacuum back around 2001, and finally (quietly) decided to cancel it in 2005. That vacuum was called the DC06 - a summary of the letter "announcing" its cancellation can be found here:

Those who say this is an easy problem have clearly never really looked at what it takes to solve it. I have - my original background is robotics, and I worked on (and we abandoned as infeasible) a robotic floor cleaner design back in the late 1980s. Time and tech advances haven't helped much - Like most problems in robotics and AI, the real issues are stubbornly immune to increases in compute power or software technology. In addition, "simply" designing and building reliable robotics hardware is insanely difficult to do well. The very best (and thus very expensive) robots we can build are still finicky, fiddly, and incredibly fragile things that require staggering amounts of maintenance (both preventive and corrective). My friend Dewayne Perry, one of the world's leading experts on software engineering, is right when he says that Artificial Intelligence needs quantum improvements to reach even the level of natural stupidity...

FWIW, I've never seen a robot that doesn't suck, except for the robot "vacuum cleaners" out there.... Nothing makes you appreciate the Intelligent Design of living systems like trying to build a robot that actually really works and is truly adaptive to real world environments!

Never trust a computer you can't repair yourself.