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Review: Captain America 295

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the first-avenger-or-something dept.
If you have been living under a rock, you might not be aware that the next in the ongoing series of Avengers prequel movies came out this weekend: Captain America follows Steve Rogers origin, and sets him up for next summer's kajillion dollar Whedonesque mega blockbuster. But how is it as a movie in its own right? Hit the link to read my 2 cents. Standard spoiler warnings apply.

Comment: Re:Hmm... (Score 1) 148

by joe_bruin (#33005744) Attached to: Microsoft Signs License With ARM

They may also want to make an ARM core that implements a graphics accelerator more friendly to the Direct3D model (and less friendly to OpenGL ES) than is currently available.

The ARM core has nothing to do with graphics. The graphics accelerator is a discrete logic unit chosen by the SOC maker to integrate into the chip. This part uses the standard AHB/AXI (ARM Host Bus) interface. A major architecture license is not required to do this.

CLR acceleration, on the other hand, seems like a possibility. They could replace the Jazelle (Java) mode. More likely, though, they will extend the ARMv7 ThumbEE mode, which is designed for this sort of thing. Here's the synopsis of ThumbEE from the Cortex reference manual:

Thumb Execution Environment (ThumbEE) is a variant of the Thumb instruction set designed as a target for dynamically generated code. This is code that is compiled on the device, from a portable bytecode or other intermediate or native representation, either shortly before or during execution. ThumbEE provides support for Just-In-Time (JIT), Dynamic Adaptive Compilation (DAC) and Ahead-Of-Time (AOT) compilers, but cannot interwork freely with the ARM and Thumb instruction sets.

ThumbEE is particularly suited to languages that feature managed pointers and array types.

Comment: Re:I've never seen a problem (Score 5, Informative) 205

by joe_bruin (#32794780) Attached to: The Curious Case of SSD Performance In OS X

The impact of the TRIM command is vastly overrated. It is effective on "naive" devices that don't allocate a reserve block pool and therefore have to erase before doing every write. On a modern SSD, the disk controller reserves 5-10% of the physical blocks (beyond those that the host can see) as an extended block pool. These blocks are always known to be free (since they're out of the scope of that OS) and are therefore preemptively erased. So, when your OS overwrites a previously written data block, one of these pre-erased blocks is actually written to and the old block is put in the reserve pool for erasing later at the device's leisure.

The one case where this isn't true is if you're constantly writing gigs of data to an empty drive. With TRIM commands, most of your drive may have been pre-erased, whereas without it you may overrun the reserve pool's size and then will be waiting on block erase. For normal desktop users, this is a pathological case. In servers and people who do a lot of heavy video editing it may matter a lot more.

Comment: Re:Licensing (Score 1) 174

by joe_bruin (#32542748) Attached to: New LLVM Debugger Subproject Already Faster Than GDB

There are still problems around the "freedom" part, as LLVM is using BSD-style licensing, authorising proprietary forks. Whereas GCC uses GPL licensing.

You're right, it doesn't solve freedom the problem for all people, but for many it does. And for some that were afraid to touch GPLv3 code, LLVM offers more freedom. So, there are trade-offs.

Comment: Re:Depends... (Score 5, Interesting) 174

by joe_bruin (#32528044) Attached to: New LLVM Debugger Subproject Already Faster Than GDB

if they achieve +10% of avg. performance against gcc (not gdb!) on AMD64 and/or ARM platform, everyone will start using it pretty soon. Until then it cannot replace gcc. Unless compiler is in some way seriously broken, its only important characteristic is performance of generated code.

Intel's ICC compiler produces code that is more than 10% faster for x86/x86_64 than GCC (last I checked). ARM's RVCT compiler produces code that is 30% faster than GCC (today)! Why is anyone still using GCC then? Money, MY FREEDOM, and compatibility with gcc-only code are the leading candidates. Interestingly, LLVM solves all three of those issues for most people, plus it has the performance advantage.

Comment: Re:Yeah, but... (Score 1) 501

by joe_bruin (#31826826) Attached to: Google to Open Source the VP8 Codec

According to some things i read the other day, the hardware support for h.264 is really just a programmable DSP in most cases, so they could program support for VP8 if it were being seriously considered, and that appears to be the direction of things.

This was the case several years ago, when it was the wild west of MPEG4. Things were changing too rapidly to make concrete hardware. Today, everyone in the hardware world has pretty much settled on h.264 and the target profiles are well known. Hardware can be made to decode it at much lower power consumption than a DSP (and at much smaller die sizes, making for cheaper chips). People that need a wide variety of codecs or those that have a vested interest in DSPs (such as Texas Instruments) still use them over dedicated IP blocks.

Comment: Re:Why not make it voluntary? (Score 1) 703

by joe_bruin (#31784428) Attached to: Wisconsin DA Threatens Arrests Over Sex Ed

Exactly. Further, the U.S. has had tax payer-funded health insurance for decades, it's called Medicare (for old people), Medicaid (for the disabled), the Veterans Administration (covers veteran soldiers), the U.S. Armed Forces medical services (which covers active military personnel and their families), as well as the health insurance of government workers. You don't see old people being forced to exercise and eat right, do you? You don't see soldiers' spouses and children being rounded up and put in fat camps.

Despite what Glenn Beck tells you, you will not be marked with the sign of the beast and then put into government-run health detention facilities.

Comment: Re:Why not make it voluntary? (Score 3, Insightful) 703

by joe_bruin (#31770096) Attached to: Wisconsin DA Threatens Arrests Over Sex Ed

Especially in a public health care setting, where it is the taxpayer who is/will be footing the bill for treatment.

You were doing so well until you got to this sentence. Let's not pull this into the discussion and bring the loonies out (or give them an excuse to shout that public health care is forcing their children to watch porn in class).

How about instead you conclude with this:
Public health also means protecting the health of those children whose parents are too stupid, crazy, or superstitious to take steps to educate their kids on disease prevention. HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis can be fatal, but are all easily preventable and no person should get infected with them due to lack of knowledge.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

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