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Comment: Re:Lemme ask you this ... (Score 1) 476

I sincerely hope that it all implodes an these provisions are left expired. Barring that, Mitch McConnell just introduced a measure that would remove one of the less evil portions that prevent further use of "secret interpretations" like we saw with section 215. Either he's trying to poison it, or he's just a complete asshole bordering on enemy of the state.

Comment: CMU struggles to retain talent with low pay (Score 4, Insightful) 199

by swb (#49815055) Attached to: Carnegie Mellon Struggles After Uber Poaches Top Robotics Researchers

...is how the headline should read.

I would wager that none of these guys are pathologically short-sighted rubes falling for false promises of more money. They more than likely made sure that the money was real, the freedom to develop their work was real, etc.

Every time I hear these "Foo poached all the talent from bar" stories I just automatically reverse the message to "Bar wasn't paying their talent enough."

Comment: Re:Time for the BIOS to be EEPROM again? (Score 1) 77

by swb (#49813531) Attached to: Macs Vulnerable To Userland Injected EFI Rootkits

Some of this seem to be blameable on hardware makers who once made firmware updates hard -- you had to set a jumper on the motherboard. Then they got rid of that part, but you couldn't flash it from the dominant GUI operating system and had to boot from a DOS disk. Then you didn't even have to do that and could flash any firmware on the system from the GUI.

Now it's too easy. It would seem to make more sense to require the system to be booted to a firmware update mode, simple and reliable enough to be placed in ROM where it could always be trusted but sophisticated enough to have both enough user interface to choose a storage device for firmware and enough intelligence to recognize which files were firmware for which devices so that there wasn't any real risk of bricking the device by flashing the wrong firmware.

Server makers could sort of bypass some of this via remote management capabilities most servers have built in so they wouldn't need to do it via GUI or special boot modes.

Comment: Mutli-window via scaling? (Score 1) 88

by swb (#49813415) Attached to: An Early Look At Android M's Multi-Window Mode For Tablets

I didn't RTFA (hey, this is Slashdot) but I could see where recent tablet iterations have such high DPI that it might be most useful for multi-window mode to split the screen and scale the app windows to fit more than one app at a time on the screen.

It seems like a lot of apps have a kind of defined layout and not much if any layout intelligence built into them, so changing their window size to less than screen size would seem to require many apps to be rewritten to support other windows sizes than full screen.

Scaling the entire app display to fit the window size would seem to solve much of this, with the caveat that apps with a fine degree of detail in their controls and small text to begin with might be less than useful. But for many, monitoring the content changes might be enough even if 100% of the controls or detail isn't legible.

Comment: Inevitable Slashdot mobile phone comments (Score 4, Informative) 100

by swb (#49808593) Attached to: Google Calendar Ends SMS Notifications

1) Someone will always comment on their continued use and the superiority of an essentially obsolete Nokia handset, whether it is an older feature phone or an N900.

2) A pissing match will take place between otherwise zealous technology advocates as to how little they pay for mobile service, often coupled with how little value they find in mobile data or contemporary smartphones.

Comment: Re:Quothe the raven, "Forevermore". (Score 2) 203

The parent posters' theories may be crackpot or science fiction, but it does seem that in absolute terms our knowledge of cosmology, while well grounded in theory, seems awfully speculative especially given our level of understanding of basic forces like gravity, let alone find concrete, experimentally verifiable theories for the beginning/end of the Universe.

I would argue that the size and timescales are also so vast relative to both our individual existence and existence as a species that we might not be able to ever really know with any certainty, nor would the answers matter.

It's like being in 4th grade and trying to develop meaningful theories on when and where you will retire in your late 60s. Not only do you not know enough facts to answer the question substantively, it's so far away that knowing or not knowing isn't really relevant and much of it hinges on unrelated consequences of events that we don't know and haven't experienced yet.

Comment: Re:This has been played out before... (Score 1) 582

by swb (#49797529) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

The only problem with an electric auxillary motor is that it would take a ton of power and I'm not sure the battery size/weight to get any meaningful runtime out of it would be at all practical.

One thing that I have seen that seems 'new' and might make an electric motor work are variable-speed diesel DC generators. They feed some kind of DC-DC converter/charge controller to provide a fixed DC voltage that can charge batteries or feed an inverter and could probably supply DC to the motor, too, although I haven't seen the converters for 48vdc.

Supposedly they're extremely efficient as they have the electrical generation built into the flywheel, so there's no mechanical losses from a belt or shaft driven generator. Because the charge controller is setup to convert a wide range of DC voltage to a fixed voltage, the engine can be run at varying speeds depending on electrical need, rather than requiring a fixed RPM required to generate AC power. Battery charging can happen at low speeds for improved fuel efficiency. I think they also enable the use of very small diesel engines, saving space.

At least this way you could have one IC engine that does both generation and could act as a power source for a motor. With enough battery, docking and exiting marinas could be done on battery alone. And you'd only need one IC engine for electrical power and auxillary propulsion.

Comment: Re:You shortchange Mad Max 1 -- I want a prequel (Score 1) 242

by swb (#49792495) Attached to: In a 5-star rating scheme, the new Mad Max film ...

I guess it's a question of word choice.

  I think post-apocalyptic means after an apocalyptic event, usually a singular catastrophe like a nuclear war or other major event that has a massive scale and results in multiple and total systemic failures. TRW, MM3, MMFR are all literal post-apocalyptic because they imply or are directly the result of a war.

I think MM1 was "pre-apocalyptic" because there hadn't been a specific singular event yet there was something of a social, political and economic crisis happening concurrent with the storyline. Police service hadn't completely ended, just shrunk in scope and effectiveness. Fuel and other economic goods had become more scarce but not wholly unavailable and the social order was threatened but not totally broken down.

Probably not the greatest terminology, but it kind of seemed to fit better than "critical decline" or something similar, at least in comparison to films that mostly claimed to be sequels which took place after an apocalyptic crisis brought on by the declines seen in the first film.

Comment: Re:This has been played out before... (Score 1) 582

by swb (#49791669) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

As a person who spends a significant amount of their time planning my fantasy boat, it looks like in terms of equipment selection, 12v and 24v seem to be kings with much less choice once you get to 48vdc.

Now this is mostly for recreational boats up to about 50'. The larger vessels seem to be more inclined to support 24v because they have the space for larger battery arrays and more flexibility to support 12v runs for the many accessories that only run on 12v.

The more run of the mill boats seem to be exclusively 12v because they have less space for battery arrays, their engines are default setup for 12v alternators.

But even when you get into larger trawler-type cruisers, they may have 24v or even 48v arrays, but that mostly seems to be because almost every appliance they have is 115vac and they're just looking for power efficiency when they're not running off the generator anyway.

Comment: Re:"low end" (Score 3, Insightful) 344

by swb (#49791267) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

No, I don't see it as in issue for anybody.

Every iPhone I buy has been used *hard* for two years by two busy professionals working as consultants, and then used continuously as a home telephone (we kept our landline number and ported it to a cell number because it was actually cheaper than the monthly taxfest that is a landline) and then used pretty hard by a 10 year old boy after that.

I may buy a new iPhone every year, but every one of those iPhones gets used for four years and by then it's not even a question of battery that's an issue, but of software and processor obsolescence for any kind of a serious tasks, and I don't think that's really all that different for Android users, either. The only hardware issue I've ever had was a volume up button on a 4S that crapped out six months in, and it was swapped out in store for a replacement phone in 10 minutes.

I really don't understand guys like you that are so angry about people who do buy a phone every year. Admittedly the biggest "feature" add on year on year is mostly CPU/RAM, although the screen size bump with the iPhone 6 Plus has been the main thing this year. It's a fucking tax writeoff for us and even if we bought 2-3 phones individually we'd be looking at upgrades every 18 months or so anyway, so one every 12-14 months doesn't seem outrageous.

I sometimes think the hostility is because you're too broke, too cheap or just flat-out jealous.

Comment: Re:You shortchange Mad Max 1 -- I want a prequel (Score 1) 242

by swb (#49791161) Attached to: In a 5-star rating scheme, the new Mad Max film ...

I don't know that I totally buy into that, but I guess far enough to see "Mad Max" as a character concept that George Miller keeps making a series of seemingly related movies about.

What seems unfortunate, though, is that there's never been any real narrative or story developed after Mad Max I. RW and FR are highly entertaining movies, but they're just chase movies with outlandish costuming. Fast and Furious has more character development.

Comment: Re:"low end" (Score 1) 344

by swb (#49790621) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

I'll be slightly less abrasive than above, but my experience with the "non replaceable" battery in every iPhone since 3GS is that battery failure has been a non-issue.

I buy a new iPhone every year, pass my old one to my wife, and her now "old" phone becomes our house phone, and the "old" house phone becomes an iPod for my son on trips.

So by the time it gets to iPod status it has been used as a daily phone with frequent charging (me), abusive charging (my wife lets hers get down to 10-20% constantly and doesn't charge in the car, etc), sitting in a charging dock, on, for a solid year as the house phone and then getting used intermittently by my son. It still seems to hold a reasonable charge -- he uses it constantly during a 3 hour plane ride and then more still after we get off the plane without any complaints of short battery life.

I don't really see the "non replaceable" battery as an issue. Even when I had a replaceable battery phone, I only just swapped batteries at home. The few times I decided to haul a battery around with me, I use it so infrequently that it was half discharged by the time I needed it.

If you suck down so much battery during normal use and can't charge off a computer or socket, any of the LiO USB chargers would be fine or even one of the battery cases.

Comment: Re:related news today re: Apple Car (Score 1) 76

by swb (#49789425) Attached to: GM To Offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto API In Most 2016 Vehicles

I don't think Apple wants to be in the car manufacturing business with a car of their own anymore than they want to be in the PC and smartphone manufacturing business. With consumer electronics, though, you only have to be in the design business (and only partially, since they buy a lot of technology from someone else -- AFAIK, they don't design display panels, radio chipsets, flash memory, RAM, etc).

With cars, though, there's not really a contract manufacturer who does the assembly, you have to do that yourself although you can buy a lot of parts from OEMs like Bosch and others.

I think Apple sees a way to become a marquis branded supplier to other car makers. Building an "Apple Car" is a design exercise, a way to see how what they do can be applied to electric cars and I'm sure it has a lot to do with dashboard electronics and "user interface" as much as it does with anything else. There may also be less sexy opportunities in terms of what they know about battery management.

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.

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