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Comment Re:Microsoft (Score 4, Insightful) 200

True, Nokia was in trouble well before the WinPho fiasco, but Symbian was just a sympton rather than the disease. Management had allowed the company to branch off into different product lines and encouraged competition between them with apparently little fiscal oversight and paying no attention to the third-party developer community. So, they had S40 engineers working on almost-smartphone handsets to challenge low-end S60/Symbian handsets, S60 engineers trying to widen their product range, and Maemo/MeeGo engineers trying and failing to prove that their otherwise unwanted bastard child was a much better platform. While the managers had their heads firmly esconced in their rectums, Elop took advantage of their indecision and gave them a false sense of hope. Or, maybe not. There's a theory out there that Nokia management knew that they had a shit sandwich on their hands before Elop came along, and sought a way to wipe the slate clean without taking the blame directly if things went wrong. Microsoft and Elop appeared at the right time with an offer that they would happily not refuse: take a large amount of money in exchange for them taking out the trash for you, money that you'll be able to use to restart your phone business from the ground up in a relatively short time frame.

Comment Re:ATI/AMD has had shitty drivers for 20 years (Score 3, Interesting) 160

Because they do have a tendency to improve. Jerry Pournelle used to write regularly about his problems with ATI cards in his column on BYTE. They typically followed the same pattern: install new card; install drivers; see computer crash regularly; upgrade drivers; see computer crash less often; upgrade drivers again; see computer run more or less stably.

Then he'd upgrade to the next shiny ATI card and do it all over again, since the new drivers bore little resemblance to the old ones.

Comment Re:most of you will pretend you understand (Score 3, Informative) 84

I doubt that the mailing list will show any definition of "trampoline". That word has a specific meaning in kernel programming, such that one would already have a good understanding of the subject before poking around in kernel code.

FWIW, "trampoline" refers to generated bits of code containing jumps to arbitrarily different pieces of code, something that ESR called "an incredibly hairy technique" in the Jargon File.

Comment Re:patching a live kernel? (Score 1) 61

What do you think ILO/ILOM, DRAC, RSA, etc. do on x86 servers? Those have their own CPU/storage/OS/network to manage the server remotely even if the main CPU gives out the magic smoke. A sysadmin can use it to wipe out and reinstall the server's OS and perform firmware upgrades without even walking into the server room.

Comment Re: Magnetic strip? (Score 1) 78

What I gather from this is that they managed to print the memory and the circuitry to read/write it. So, instead of requiring a mechanical transport and a magnetic head, you simply connect wires to contacts along the edge of the circuit, and use electrical signals to access the data, eliminating the need for moving components.

Comment Re:Nokia? (Score 2) 207

I came here hoping to see the N900 listed. Thanks for not letting me down. I still miss my N900, two years after inadvertently walking into the Atlantic Ocean with it in my trunks. If the Neo900 manages to produce something within a reasonable time frame, I'll be able to resuscitate it.

Comment Jeff Cogswell is a three-year-old (Score 4, Insightful) 112

My son used to play a silly little match game that he picked up from pre-school when he was three years old. In it, he would take two toys -- cars, action figures, Lego blocks, staple removers, whatever -- hold them in his hands, and ask "Which one are you, X or Y?" After the other person (usually me) answered, he'd act out some sort of epic battle between the two toys in his hands, and then declare one or the other the victor. I always pointed out to him the pointlessness of the game. He didn't care.

Jeff Cogswell's reviews remind me of that game. They're pointless. He doesn't care. And my son grew out of it.

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb