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Comment: Re:the problem with Twitter (Score 4, Interesting) 114

by inflex (#48896859) Attached to: Twitter Moves To Curb Instagram Links

+1 to this.

I appreciate the terseness of Twitter's 140char limit, but it's a little *too* restrictive. I agree it makes people creative, but after a while the shine goes off that when you're just trying to get something important out there which could be better said with a few more characters rather than making people jump via a URL to somewhere else.

Maybe they should just abolish the limit entirely. Not like we're confined to the restrictions of SMS as the data carrier any more.

Comment: Hope they don't eat food from that oven again... (Score 1) 304

by inflex (#48703043) Attached to: Putting a MacBook Pro In the Oven To Fix It

Considering how paranoid everyone is about cancer causing substances it's not great advice really. Reflowing any electronics in an oven will cause a degree of gas-off and splatter of goodness knows what ( even RoHS compliant ), particularly if you're using flux to assist in the reflow. You should never do this sort of thing with items that'll be used for food later.

On the other hand, if you buy a pizza oven for $19.95 and use it for the reflow, and never use it again for food, then no worries ( still a cheap reflow ).

Comment: Book on it... C of Peril... yarrrr! (Score 2) 641

by inflex (#48553853) Attached to: How Relevant is C in 2014?

Lots of old traps in there, I stopped about 5 years ago with this book, needs a lot more work, but covers the basic "ooops" events. Thankfully at least with things like Valgrind / CLANG|gcc a lot of the older dramatic mistakes can be picked out quickly.

"C of Peril" - the book (pdf, free) at

Comment: Re:How badly coded are Windows applications? (Score 1) 349

by inflex (#48061403) Attached to: Possible Reason Behind Version Hop to Windows 10: Compatibility

Not as long-beardered here ('88) but the 1M5, 2u2 and similar numbering system has been around for quite some time over here in Australia. Very useful for avoiding those "Is that a bit of dust or a decimal-point" ambigious situations, particularly when photocopiers and/or leaky screen-printing was used for generating the output.

Comment: Re: What for? (Score 3, Interesting) 191

by inflex (#47661765) Attached to: Reversible Type-C USB Connector Ready For Production

Pretty much every data connector has its pins exposed to the air and subsequently ingress of dust and liquid when not mated. Having a big metal enclosures/ground planes/shields around the connector is about electrical noise control and sometimes to a limited degree about preventing mechanical damage.

The old apple connector was awful, prone to breakages and pin-lifting due to "real humans" using the devices, it also was a significant pain to replace in the iPod Touch due to its wide body and numerous pins ( at least the phones had a replacable flex lead containing the dock connector ), it was also exceptionally good at picking up crap (lint, paper, body gunk, drinks ... everything that you'd think people wouldn't in their right mind have near it ). I like that it's been changed around to the lightning connector, yes the pins are exposed on it, but it would seem that for a portable device that's floating around in a lot of random environments, the lightning cable is the one that gets the least exposure ( compared to the device ) as it just sits at home waiting till the user returns to charge up their device again. The most common problem we've been encountering is just the socket on the phones filling up with lint over time causing the connection to fail due to the inability to fully insert the plug - thankfully easy to fix of course.

The MicroUSB connector on phones usually are mashed due to people deciding "No, it really MUST fit this way". The SONY Xperia with the Micro-A was a wonderful disaster in that respect ( yes, I know the key is offset to prevent incorrect insertion, but it's useless against determined humans ), or due to looser tolerances the tongue gets partially sheared away when the phone is dropped on the connector while plugged in.

Who knows how people manage to break things in strange ways, but they do, "we" might not, but "they" certainly do.

Comment: Re: What for? (Score 4, Insightful) 191

by inflex (#47659419) Attached to: Reversible Type-C USB Connector Ready For Production

It likely won't, and its failure will be expensive on the device.

As a non-apple-fanboy, I do have to say that the lightning connector used on iPhones is a smarter connector. If it's going to break due to external force, it'll break the tongue off the plug, rather than damaging the socket, subsequently a lot cheaper and easier to fix. Replacing broken microUSB ( and soon Type-C ) sockets on phones, tablets and similar devices is rarely cheap and frequently has additional complications ( such as lifting tracks, broken PCBs or just nearly impossible to find a suitable replacement connector ).

It's a lot simpler extracting a broken off tongue from a lightning socket and getting a new cable.

Comment: Re:Original iPads Work Well ... (Score 1) 386

by inflex (#46832303) Attached to: iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

iPhone 4's ( not 4S ) being updated to iOS 7 generally don't seem to perform quite as well as they did on iOS 6. Clients get annoyed with the lag and jump to the iP4S or 5. Still, that's not exclusive to Apple, but the inability to roll back for normal consumer situations is a significant pain.

Battery replacement isn't so bad in the iP4, 4S and 5.

Comment: Certainly as a fork... good luck (Score 4, Interesting) 248

by inflex (#46550987) Attached to: Neovim: Rebuilding Vim For the 21st Century

I admit to being curious to see how this one goes as a fork off the existing vim codebase, but I'm not sure I'd be putting any bets on its long term viability. I suspect an overdose of optimism and insufficient compelling reasons for users to shift from vim will starve this project out.

Good luck to the developer - it's going to be one hell of a learning experience.

Comment: Re:Fashion trends (Score 1) 74

by inflex (#45297387) Attached to: Self-Published Zombie Titles Have Doubled Since 2012

In the last 2~3 years the number of books published outside of the "big 6" houses has done a lot more than doubled, 3~4x I think according to Bowker ( and that's just the ones that have ISBNs assigned). One way a lot of us notice the growth is by having a really unpopular book listed on Amazon and seeing how bad the ranking gets. The most recent peaking genres were erotica (thanks to 50SoG breaking the ice) and of course Vamps. Nice to see Zombies shuffling in :D

Comment: Re:I suspect the reason they're self-published (Score 3, Insightful) 74

by inflex (#45297337) Attached to: Self-Published Zombie Titles Have Doubled Since 2012

Oh help us, imagine if this happened in the world of software, eeeeish, they'd probably create something like Linux! *shudder*.

Readers are the ultimate choice makers, while big publishing houses can bring some useful services to the writer they're quickly becoming less relevant as the whole industry reworks itself into more independent units for hire ( cover art, editing, proofing, marketing ).

Comment: Re:Yep (Score 1) 791

by inflex (#45126483) Attached to: Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

Because fundamentally the tongue-in-receptical design of connector as such as the microUSB is not a good design for dealing with humans and high cycles. Plenty of laptops and desktops submitted here with broken USB socket tongues as well ( yes, the standard USB socket ).

The micro USB is an acceptable design, but the lightning connector is better for dealing with humans. You, me, and millions of other people might be fine with aligning and getting it right and never break one, but there's also plenty of people who don't handle these things well and do break the connectors and it becomes a costly affair at times to replace them, punishing the "stupid" perhaps some might see it as. I prefer the lightning connector in terms of mechanical simplicity and robustness.

Comment: Re:Oh, I totally agree... (Score 1) 791

by inflex (#45120601) Attached to: Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

If you do it yourself. Send it to a phone repair centre and that'll probably jump to $60~$80 depending.

The cable connector should break, not the device connector; in short, that's what's wrong with microUSB.

In terms of a living, I love the microUSB, so many broken every week to repair; but from an engineering/failure-management view it is backwards.

Comment: Re:Oh, I totally agree... (Score 1) 791

by inflex (#45120505) Attached to: Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

The lack of physical polarity is a nice thing, but the winning aspect of the lightning design in terms of dealing with "human handlers" is its significantly more robust tongue and that if something is going to break, it'll still be the tongue that is on a cheap cable, rather than an expensive device.

The lightning connector handles the most problematic aspect of computers better than the microUSB connector.... humans.

Comment: Re:Yep (Score 2) 791

by inflex (#45120475) Attached to: Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

Sony Xperia phone recently arrived in my "broken USB connector to be repaired" list, at first I thought the client had reamed out the whole connector, but nope, instead it seems that Sony in their infinite forsight deviced "to hell with the physical orientation keying on the metal shell, let's just rely on the offset tongue holding the pins.

Needless to say, a lot of those phones are now being sent back for repair due to people not getting the orientation right first time, forcing it slightly ( and people do that, regardless of how sensible it is or otherwise ) and *SNAP* it's all over.

I'm glad to see Apple ditch the old connector, same principle as the microUSB, same mishaps ( fine on iPhones, since you can replace the dock assembly, but iPods require a lot of delicate work to replace their dock connectors since they're soldered directly on to the monolithic PCB with everything else ).

It's easier to engineer a better option than to teach people to be more careful.

What hath Bob wrought?